WATER shortages suffered by homes and businesses this winter may soon be a thing of the past.

Dublin City Council has begun its €3m environmental impact study on a revolutionary storage project that would guarantee supply and ensure water restrictions never happen again.

As water restrictions continued in the capital last week, engineers said the problem would be solved once a major €540m eco-park is completed.

Work has begun on initial preparations for the project, which has attracted criticism over plans to extract water from the River Shannon to supply the greater Dublin area.

However, if An Bord Pleanála gives the go-ahead, it is believed that, along with complementary projects including pipe repairs, water supply would far exceed the tight supply-and-demand ratios that currently exist.

"It's very important to make sure the region doesn't go through these shortages again," said Tom Leahy, executive manager at Dublin City Council.

If completed, the project will see the provision of a water eco park at Garryhinch bog in Co Offaly which will store excess water from the Shannon.

Dublin City Council said it would create 1,000 jobs over three years of construction as well as some longer-term employment. Plans for the scheme have been in existence for some time although it is only just getting underway with research into a comprehensive study aimed at dispelling any concerns over environmental damage.