- Water and Wastewater
Since January 2014 Water and Wastewater has been the responsibility of Irish Water and Kilkenny County Council treats water and wastewater in accordance with a service level agreement with Irish Water. Potable water is treated to food standard, with the appropriate monitoring and testing.
Water distribution input in the county has amounted to 27,166 m3 per day over 365 days, amounting to 9,915,500 m3 of potable water per year. Given the losses on the network a far greater production is however required to meet the future demand. Waste Water in similar quantities is disposed of safely back to the environment.
- Water Conservation and Water Quality
Kilkenny County Council has significantly reduced water distribution input from 33000m3/day in 2010 to the current figure of 27,166m3/day which is a reduction of 18%. This has been achieved through active leakage detection, demand management, pressure management and watermains rehabilitation.
The Draft National River Basin Management Plan 2018 – 2021 published in 2018 seeks to ensure full compliance with the Water Framework Directive (WFD). This requires restoring water quality to at least good status, the prevention of deterioration in water quality, implementation of objectives for designated protected areas and an overall focus on protection of water quality. To date Government action has focussed on the main sources of pollution - a nitrates actions programme to address agricultural runoff and investment to address pollution from urban waste water treatment discharges. Additional measures to meet Ireland’s obligations under the WFD will be implemented, including increased investment in Waste Water Treatment Plants and changes or restrictions on further discharges.
- Surface Water and Sustainable Drainage
All new development applications must account for how the surface water runoff will be managed on development sites. As such, the County Council aims to control runoff from such sites through Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS), which aims to contain surface waters on site for gradual release back to watercourses or public drainage systems. SuDS thereby reduce the rate and quantity of surface water runoff and improve water quality from developed sites by replicating, as closely as possible a ‘greenfield’ situation. It is however important to follow best practice, including the use if interceptors, to ensure that SuDS do not negatively impact when discharging directly to watercourses.
- Waste Management
The Southern Region Waste Management Plan 2015-2021 is the guiding document for waste management in County Kilkenny. Kilkenny County Council’s role in waste management is focused on education, prevention, ensuring resource efficiency activities, regulating householders, businesses and waste operators and enforcing waste legislation. Waste infrastructure provided by Kilkenny County Council mainly includes bring banks and a civic amenity centre. Kilkenny County Council support the new SRWMO (Southern Region Waste Management Office) and WERLA (Waste Enforcement Regional Local Authority) as well as taking a lead role in the implementation of specific tasks such as tackling unmanaged household waste, remediation of historic landfills, local campaigns on waste prevention and specific waste enforcement activities in County Kilkenny.
- Electrical and Gas supply
The electricity transmission network of Kilkenny comprises mostly 110kV (kilovolt) circuits and one 220kV circuit in the South of the County. Kilkenny County Council recognises the need to enhance the electrical infrastructure to ensure that increased demand is met for increased energy security, economical growth and job creation.
A gas pipeline runs from direction Paulstown through the County past Kilkenny City and on towards Callan to the West and Ballyragget to the North. A spur from the main gas pipeline extends down to Great Island in County Wexford and into Belview Port. Although gas is used in some areas along this pipeline, many areas do not have direct access to gas via the network and are reliant on mobile gas in the form of cylinders or gas tanks installed in housing estates and at business premises.
The Council will continue to work with agencies to ensure the orderly rollout of energy infrastructure and to promote clean energy in as far as is practicable.
- Telecommunications and Broadband
In April 2016, 22,739 dwellings in Kilkenny had broadband access, an increase of 14.8% since April 2011. A further 3,800 dwellings had non-broadband internet access, an increase of 2.1%, while the number of dwellings with no internet access fell by 19.6% to 7,512.
Currently there is poor broadband and mobile provision in the rural areas of Kilkenny and the Governments Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce has been setup to address these issues across the Country.
Kilkenny County Council will make every effort to facilitate mobile operators to increase the coverage and quality of mobile services in the county and to assist with the rollout of National Broadband Plan across the county, thus digitally better enabling the County. Currently 37% of County Kilkenny is within this plan.
Following on from the National Broadband Plan which primarily addresses the lack of high speed broadband connectivity in the rural areas, there will be locations within the city boundaries that have fallen behind in terms of connectivity speed and availability. Kilkenny County Council will endeavour to facilitate and support broadband and mobile operators to improve these speed and service issues within the city boundaries.
- Renewable Energy
Renewable energy comes in many forms, including wind energy, solar energy or biomass. Although renewable energy reduces carbon emissions, its production is not always without controversy. The production of wind energy requires substantial wind turbines, the combined visual impact of which could negatively impact the rural landscape character. On the other hand, Solar energy covers a larger extent of land, although with a much reduced visual profile. Kilkenny County Council supports the low carbon economy and the use of renewable energy for a cleaner future. To date permissions have been granted by the Council and on appeal to An Bord Pleanála for 39 wind turbines in 8 locations, together with 12 solar farms covering an area of approximately 160Ha.