29 June-Carlow Water Supply

Carlow town is located in Southeast Ireland about 80km from Dublin. With a population of over 23,000 it is the twenty fifth largest urban area on the island of Ireland. Carlow town has frequently led the way in the provision of public utilities. By the early 1890’s the town had both a piped water supply (1894) and an electricity supply (1891).

The water supply for Carlow town was first supplied from a reservoir at Killeshin about 7km west of the town. The reservoir was built on a tributary of the River Fushoge in the foothills of the Castlecomer plateau. The foundation stone for the reservoir was laid on September 5th 1894. The reservoir supplied water to households and businesses in Carlow town, for a small charge, for 99 years. The reservoir has been decommissioned and developed as a local amenity.

As Carlow continued to expand the demand for water increased. A new water treatment plant was installed at Sion Cross about 4km east of Carlow in the 1950’s. The treatment plant supplied water to Carlow from the River Burren. The Burren rises in Mount Leinster and flows into the Barrow near Carlow castle. As part of its quality control system the Sion Cross works used Fish Toximeter technology as an early warning system of water pollutants. The plant was extended in the 1970’s and by 2005 was supplying water to Carlow town and its environs at the rate of 4,000m3 per day.

The demand for an improved water supply to Carlow town and its environs increased during the late 1970’s. This led to the construction of a new water treatment plant at Rahvilly on the River Slaney about 20km to the east of Carlow town. With a booster station at Friarstown, the Rathvilly water treatment plant was supplying over 4,000m3 per day by 2005. As a further boost to the water supply, wells have been drilled at Oak Park. The water from these wells together with the water from Sion Cross and Rathvilly is pumped to storage reservoirs at Brownshill and from there piped to Carlow town and surrounding areas.

On April 29th 2014 responsibility for water services in Carlow was transferred from Carlow County Council to Irish Water.

The water treatment plant at Rathvilly, which began began supplying water to Carlow in 1986, was officially opened in the year 1987 On This Day.

Carlow Water Treatment Plant on the River Slaney at Rathvilly Co Carlow.

Jerry Crowley


River Slaney by mrpbps on 2003-08-31 10:17:04