An oral hearing into the proposed abstraction of water from Lough Ennell to feed the Royal Canal has heard how 26km of canal are currently closed because of low water.
The report in the Irish Times states that Lough Owel is normally used to fed both the canal and drinking water to Mullingar and its surrounding area. The average water demand for the Royal Canal is 5 million gallons a day rising to 9.6 gallons a day in high summer. However, the Lough no longer has the capacity to fed both, hence the closure of a length of the canal. The solution proposed by Westmeath County Council is to extract water from Lough Ennell.
This started me think ‘what does 5 million gallons a day look like’. To visualise this, the drinking water demand for Dún Laoghaire Rathdown county area is 11 million gallons a day. This strikes me as absurd, why should a canal require half the water demand of a small part of Dublin. There is an oral hearing into the proposed abstraction of water from Lough Ennell. It seems to me that some basic questions should be asked at the enquiry such as why does a canal need this much water? Where does the water go? How does the water demand per km of canal compare with other Irish Canals and the rest of Europe. And can anything be done to reduce demand.