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July 26 2017 5:06 PM
Fully replacing a mains pipe that burst triggering the water supply crisis in Louth and Meath could cost three million euro and take 18 months, Irish Water has said.
A temporary repair has now been carried out on the damaged section of the pipe serving Staleen water treatment plant in Meath.
Engineers are testing to see it the patch holds.
While work on a more permanent repair will start next month, Irish Water has said the incident has highlighted a need to replace a 2.2km section of the main.
Irish Water managing director Jerry Grant said: "It's clear from the significant level of disruption and hardship endured by so many customers as a result of the burst on this high pressure main that its replacement must be a priority for Irish Water.
"A detailed programme for complete replacement will take a number of weeks to finalise and we will need to undertake detailed planning and design work before we can be confident around the exact time frame for this to happen.
"However, a preliminary view suggests a time frame of 18 months and a budget of 2-3 million euro will be needed to complete the work."
Up to 60,000 households and businesses have been affected by water shortages since the rupture on Friday.
Louth and Meath county councils continue to coordinate efforts to provide people with supplies.
Temporary water stations have been set up across both counties.
Water tankers and containers have also been mobilised across the country to replenish water supplies.
The Defence Forces, the Civil Defence, Louth and Meath fire services, Northern Ireland Water and a number of private sector companies have been involved in the distribution operation.
Community and voluntary groups, including the scouts, have also helped.