19th Century Tunnel Replacement To Ensure Quality Drinking Water

Image: water.ie

An event turning the sod on the construction of a new pipeline from Vartry Water Treatment Plant to Callowhill took place today, hosted by Irish Water as the utility is investing €29M in the Vartry Callowhill Link.

The Vartry Water Supply Scheme was originally constructed in the 1860s and was a feat of engineering including a four kilometre long tunnel under Callowhill to deliver water to north Wicklow and south Dublin.

The scheme was advocated by physician and politician Sir John Gray and developed by Dublin Corporation to provide a safe and reliable water supply to the region and helped to reduce outbreaks of water borne disease.

The scheme includes two reservoirs on the Vartry, a water treatment plant comprising primarily of slow sand filters, 40km of trunk mains that deliver water to open storage reservoirs at Stillorgan in Dublin.

The tunnel is now in a poor state of repair and is being replaced by the new pipeline which will secure and safeguard the water supply for the communities it serves which is one of the most densely populated areas in the country.

The project to construct a new water pipeline and additional structures for the transfer of treated drinking water from Vartry to Callowhill serves more than 200K people. In February 2017, Wicklow County Council granted planning permission for the construction of the new water pipeline and additional structures.

The proposed works will include a new pumping station at the existing Vartry Water Treatment Plant and four kilometres of buried pipeline from Vartry to Callowhill and a break pressure tank at Callowhill.


Attending the event, the Minister of State for Food, Forestry & Horticulture Representing Wicklow and East Carlow Andrew Doyle said: ”The coming together of Wicklow County Council, Dublin City Council and Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council at this event today highlights the importance of a single public utility to manage our water services. Having a strategic view of the requirements and investment that will allow growth of homes and businesses is vital to our social and economic success. The vision that built Vartry 150 years ago is echoed now as we continue to invest in the future.”