Irish Water has confirmed its intention to proceed with the River Shannon water supply project to bring water to Dublin and the midlands following the outcome of its fourth public consultation on the matter.

If it gets the go ahead from An Bord Pleanála, the €1.3bn project will be the first major upgrade to Ireland's water infrastructure in more than 60 years.  

The company said that the future water needs of Dublin and the midlands cannot be met by fixing leaks alone.

It said it is now satisfied beyond doubt that diverting water from the Parteen Basin is critical for the future.

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The population of the Greater Dublin Region is forecast to grow my more than half a million people by 2040, making where to get a secure, reliable, and sustainable supply of water a huge issue.

Irish Water wants 5% of the water in the Shannon's Parteen basin pumped to a water treatment plant at Birdhill in Co Tipperary.

Then with the aid of gravity it would be allowed to flow through a big new pipeline the whole way to a new reservoir at Peamount in Co Dublin.

The two-metre wide pipe work would be 170km long.

Read more: Anglers angry over plans to take water from Shannon for Dublin

Irish Water's latest consultation involved numerous briefings, open days and press releases and it said it now has no doubts about the project, although it still requires planning permissions from An Bord Pleanála.

Irish Water Managing Director Jerry Grant said a new major water supply needed to be brought into the Greater Dublin area because it is "running out of water".

Otherwise, Mr Grant warned, water outages, as seen during Storm Emma, would become more common.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Grant said that addressing leakage will be part of the process, but that providing a new water source by 2025 is crucial.

Mr Grant said a major find and fix campaign to bring leakage down is under way, but that leakage is endemic.

He added that the rate at which pipes can physically be replaced is, at maximum, 1% of the network a year.

It was, he said, part of the process but not the solution.