Irish Water Extend Hosepipe Ban To Safeguard Water Supply

David Layde
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IRISH Water say the Water Conservation Order remains in place for Dublin, Louth, Meath, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Offaly, Westmeath, Carlow, Wicklow, Wexford, Waterford, Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary.

The utility met today to assess the need to extend the Water Conservation Orders that will expire on Friday, 31 August in a bid to safeguard water supply across the country.

Irish Water is continuing to manage scarce resources  with local authorities and specialist contractors doing everything to help reduce leaks, manage demands and maintain continuity of supply.

The Water Conservation Order prohibits use of water drawn through a hosepipe or similar for the purpose of:

  • watering a garden
  • cleaning a private motor-vehicle using a hosepipe
  • cleaning a private leisure boat using a hosepipe
  • filling or maintaining a domestic swimming or paddling pool (except when using hand held containers filled directly from a tap)
  • filling or maintaining a domestic pond (excluding fish ponds) using a hosepipe
  • filling or maintaining an ornamental fountain (with the exception of such use for commercial purposes)
  • use of water for filling or replenishing an artificial pond (excluding fish ponds), lake or similar application.

In the Greater Dublin Area, water supplies are being maintained with minimum service disruption.

Water conservation by householders and businesses, continued work on leakage management and night-time pressure management has manged to contain overall regional daily usage to around 550 million litres.

However, sources remain low and storage in the Pollaphouca Reservoir continues to drop, though at a slower rate in August than in July.

Based on the current storage levels in Pollaphuca and Vartry, there is now a reasonable prospect that we will be able to meet the region’s needs through the Autumn, with a continued conservation effort.

However, in the event of an unusually dry September/October, the levels would reduce to minimum reserve levels, below which some further restrictions would arise.  At this stage, levels will be at historic low levels going into the winter.

Given the critical reliance of over 1.6 million people and the region’s businesses on these resources, Irish Water say that the urgent focus on water conservation will be needed through the coming months.

Commenting on the extension of the Water Conservation Orders, Irish Water’s General Manager, Eamon Gallen said;

“The 2018 drought conditions have demonstrated the vulnerability of many of our water supplies, notably in the south, east and midlands. Irish Water engineers and hydrological experts are working with experts from the EPA, OPW, ESB, local authorities and other agencies to monitor river flows and lake levels. We continue to liaise with Inland Fisheries Ireland regarding impacts of abstractions from rivers and lakes and wastewater discharges on fish life. This information will be invaluable to the ongoing work of developing the medium and long term water supply strategies for the country. In the coming weeks, Irish Water will publish for public consultation, its draft methodology for assessment of sustainable abstractions as a key input to the National Water Resources Plan which will be finalised in the coming months. A key element in the strategy is the provision of much greater resilience in our supplies and minimising the impact of severe weather extremes with climate change or sudden failures in sources or infrastructure. In the meantime, Irish Water’s immediate focus is on safeguarding water supplies by maximising water conservation and fixing leaks.”

“At this stage, the majority of local authorities are working with leakage contractors to deliver substantial savings. Major savings achieved in recent months include in Tralee, Athlone, Cork County, Galway City, Laois and Kilkenny, where schemes under severe pressure due to the drought are now coping satisfactorily due to the water saved. Across Dublin, the existing crews performed very well to substantially reverse the leakage impact of Storm Emma and mobilisation for an intensified leakage program has now commenced. Over the coming months, the scale of work on ‘Find & Fix’ in the network, ‘First Fix Free’ activity with households, supported by prioritised pipe replacement focused on high burst frequency and impact pipes, will be increasingly evident to the public.”

“While the Water Conservation Orders have been lifted for some areas of the country, we are hopeful that everyone will to continue to conserve water. This prolonged drought has brought an increased awareness of the value of having an adequate continuous water service for homes and businesses around the country, with evident response in increased water conservation and this must be continued as we all work together to protect and safeguard our water resources for our future needs.”

Advice on water conservation measures are available on www.water.ie