is one of the prime natural resources, an essential commodity for all living
systems, but vulnerable to contamination and pollution by human activities.
It is continually renewed by the natural hydrological cycle of evaporation,
vapour transportation and rainfall. In many semiarid areas of the world
water has to be collected each day, often by women and children, walking
many miles to the nearest well, yet in the developed world we expect to
be able to turn on the tap and have as much water as we want, when we want.
Not only that, but we expect it all to be clean and safe to drink, even
though only a small fraction will be actually consumed or used for food
In third world countries the lack of water has contributed to the death of 100 million children in the past 20 years. Many millions more people have died from waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and dysentery contracted from inadequate and polluted drinking water sources. Water supply is a primary infrastructural need of all communities worldwide, playing a key role in the promotion of public health and the elimination of disease. While there are many problem areas in the world today, the overall quality of public water supplies in the Republic of Ireland are amongst the highest in Europe.
Every day each one of us uses large quantities of water. It is vital for drinking and cooking, and for many other domestic and agricultural uses.
Industry uses water in vast quantities to manufacture everything from paper to motor cars, electricity to computers. High quality water is used, for example, in the electric power generation, pharmaceutical and semi-conductor industries. A supply of water is also required to protect our homes, our workplaces and our livelihoods from the dangers of fire.
During the last century
engineers have developed the technologies used to control and modulate
water quality to meet the European
In the 1960's and 1970's the Government invested in the development of group schemes to supply landowners and householders in rural areas. In parallel the local authorities embarked on:
To these ends, the
counties of Mayo and Galway in particular are blessed with a large number
of inland lakes with excellent water quality such as L Corrib in North
Galway, L. Mask in South Mayo, L. Conn and L. Carrowmore in North Mayo,
Corrymore Lake in Achill, and Lough Rea in east Galway.
The hundreds of millions
of pounds necessary to provide the existing and continuing development
of water supply infrastructure in the region through the implementation
of these schemes over the last 25 years have been made possible by grant
aid from EU Structural and Cohesion funds.