Water shortages hit across Laois

ALMOST two weeks since the thaw began, the water crisis continues for many households across the county. From Clonaslee to Durrow and Borris-in-Ossory to Ballylinan, no area of Laois was left untouched by water shortages.

ALMOST two weeks since the thaw began, the water crisis continues for many households across the county. From Clonaslee to Durrow and Borris-in-Ossory to Ballylinan, no area of Laois was left untouched by water shortages.

With county hall admitting that it is loosing almost two thirds of its supply through leaks, Portlaoise, Portarlington, Mountmellick and Graiguecullen, were still experiencing water disruption this week.

Other areas were affected to a lesser extent. Water tankers were still providing water this week. Problems remained up to midday yesterday (Tuesday) and was expected to continue for a number of days.

Laois County Council confirmed this week that it is using more than 1 million litres a week which is more than half its normally weekly usage. Most water is being lost through leaks.

The problems began on St Stephen's Day as temperatures began to rise and the frost and snow melted. Portlaoise, Portarlington and Mountmellick were worst hit in the first few days. The demand for water trebled in some areas of the county due to leaks and bursts in the initial days, but this week demand was still outstripping supply in Mountmellick and Portarlington.

Last Thursday, the council warned of a serious situation at the Pallas reservoir, due to unidentified leaks. Work continues at the reservoir to restore water levels.

Mark McCaulay, from the council's water services department said that there would be continued restrictions on the Mountmellick Road as the council tried to get water back in to the reservoir.

Last Thursday night, water was turned off overnight in Ballyroan, Graiguecullen and Ballylinan to conserve supplies, and to allow for the build up of supply in reservoirs. The council are still advising people that their supply may be shut off at anytime to allow for repairs, and to maintain the reservoir levels.

Leaks reported in Portlaoise, Stradbally, Durrow, Borris-in-Ossory, Mountrath, Radhdowney, Ballinakill and Abbeyleix were still causing problems in those areas. In Graiguecullen, a major mains burst was reported in the Barrowvale estate, and there was also leaks in Highfield Manor, Spindlewood and Rochford Manor. Leaks were also causing low pressure on the Killeshin Road and in Crossneen.

A water tanker had been dispatched to Ballyfin on Tuesday and the fire services were bringing water to houses in Esker Hills.

Mary O'Donoghue, administrative officer with the council's water services department praised the work of the Civil Defence. "The work of the civil defence during the bad weather and in the last week should be recognised. They work on a voluntary basis, and were out during the freezing condition bringing water and other supplies to the vulnerable."