9.3 Challenges

  • The Dublin region is facing a number of infrastructural challenges, particularly in the supply and demand for high-quality drinking water and for wastewater treatment to provide for future population growth, addressing deterioration of the existing networks, including substandard drainage infrastructure, and encouraging water conservation. The Irish Water Services Strategic Plan 2015 sets out objectives for the delivery of water services over the next 25 years. Dublin City Council will work closely with and facilitate Irish Water in delivery of these services. ­
  • Irish Water published the Project Need Report in early March 2015 which sets out the pressing need for a new water supply source for the Eastern and Midlands Region of the country. Projected demand for water in Dublin will increase significantly by 2050, far exceeding the capacity of the existing sources there. Climate change presents a risk to water supply. There is a requirement to diversify water sources serving the Dublin water supply area with 84% of water treatment capacity dependent on the River Liffey alone. The Eastern and Midlands Region Project will identify a new water supply source to avoid shortages of drinking water in the future. The city needs to develop significant additional treated water storage capacity to mitigate the risks of water shortages in the future. ­
  • The expansion and upgrading of the Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plan is an urgent priority for Irish Water. It is intended to upgrade and expand the treatment works to a capacity of c. 2.1 million Population Equivalent (PE) from its current 1.64 million PE. The upgrade must also achieve improved treated effluent quality in order to conserve good water quality in the Liffey Estuary and Dublin Bay. ­
  • Progressing the development of the Greater Dublin Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant, Marine Outfall and orbital sewer to be located in the northern part of the Greater Dublin Area is essential to the future growth of the Dublin region. ­
  • It is crucial to respond to the issue of climate change and the impact of increased flood risk due to extremes of weather by flood risk management. Given the onset of climate change and increased flood risk from extreme events, flood risk assessment and management into all aspects of the development plan, including the areas of urban design, flood resilient construction materials and individual developments, must be undertaken. In this matter, the development plan and all developments will have regard to the Guidelines for Planning Authorities on Flood Risk Management Guidelines (2009) issued by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. ­
  • Whilst the National Climate Change Strategy has not been updated (2007 – 2012), it was comprehensively reviewed in 2011 and the EPA‘s document ‘The status of Ireland’s Climate’ (2012, DECLG) provides an understanding of the key issues. The National Climate Change Adaption Framework (2012) now provides the policy context for a strategic adaption response that is designed to evolve over time. ­
  • Mitigation strategies and energy strategies are important for mitigating climate change, and an Action Plan on foot of same, such as the Dublin City Sustainable Energy Action Plan 2010 – 2020, can assist greatly towards meeting national goals such as The National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) and The National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP). ­
  • Pollution of water sources, including groundwater and surface water, pose a significant risk of contamination of raw water sources used as a source of drinking water. ­
  • In waste management, the main objective is to facilitate the development of recycling in order to minimise the use of landfill. It is a target of the EU Landfill Directive for the Dublin region to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. The 2013 and 2016 Landfill Directive targets are at risk of not being met without considerable policy effort. The plan will have regard to the Eastern– Midlands Regional Waste Management Plan 2015 – 2021. ­
  • Increasing volumes of traffic affect air quality and the acoustic environment. The challenge is how to manage demand for limited road space and thus minimise traffic congestion, where possible, which leads to elevated air polluting emissions and increased noise levels. The aim is to manage these issues through specific transport measures, as outlined in the Movement and Transport chapter (see Chapter 8). ­
  • The ERBD River Basin Management Plan sets out the objectives to upgrade our waters and proposes the actions that are needed to achieve these objectives while promoting sustainable use of our waters. Waters must have sufficient quantity and be of satisfactory quality to protect the aquatic environment and beneficial uses. Many of our surface waters and groundwaters have satisfactory quality and sustainable levels but these too must be protected in the future. Both surface waters and groundwaters that support protected areas (e.g. bathing waters, nutrient sensitive areas, protected habitats and species) must enable these protected areas to achieve their stricter status standards. ­
  • The main challenges in flooding are:

i. To reduce the flood risk in Dublin city to the National Flood Standards to above 1% annual exceedance probability or AEP (roughly 100-year flood event) for fluvial flooding and above 0.5% AEP (roughly 200-year flood event) for tidal flooding, as far as is reasonably possible.

ii. To comply fully with the DECLG ‘The Planning System and Flood Risk Management’ Guidelines for Planning Authorities in the Dublin city area.

iii. To comply with Dublin City Council climate change adaption policy 2015 – 2021 in all flood alleviation projects, planning applications and flood warning systems.

iv. To continue to work with the Office of Public Works on the development of Catchments Flood Risk and Management Plans (CFRAMP) for the city’s major rivers and coastline, as well as general policies and objectives.

v. To develop and where possible implement strategies to reduce the effects of non-tidal and non-fluvial flooding in Dublin city.

vi. To liaise with Fingal, South Dublin, Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow County Councils as well as the Electricity Supply Board and Irish Water in the management of flood alleviation on the rivers coming into the Dublin city area and the coastline adjacent to it.