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19/10/2021

Laois group water scheme members hit with usage warning in national alert

Group water scheme members hit with usage warning

People living in rural areas of Laois and other counties have been put on alert about water shortages due to the impact the heatwave has had on supplies.

The National Federation of Group Water Schemes (NFGWS) is asking group water scheme (GWS) members to conserve water and check for leaks at home and on the farm during this particularly dry spell.

It says that as the high water demand currently being experienced has potential implications for human health, group scheme members are urged to use water wisely and to avoid all unnecessary use.

The statement also warned that apart with having less water, the increase in water demand can put pressure on treatment systems.

"These systems have a design capacity and where this is exceeded, treatment systems (especially filtration) cannot operate as effectively. This increases the risk of contaminants entering the drinking water supply," it said.

The warning also raised the flag over another issue. They say that Algal blooms that arise on many of our lake sources also impacts filtration systems at this time of year.

With large parts of Laois relying on spring supplies, the statement said that as the aquifer is depleted, raw water quality deteriorates and this too puts pressure on treatment plants. Any unnecessary usage that speeds up the depletion of these groundwater sources should, therefore, be avoided.

While there have not yet been any reports of major issues, it is vitally important that everyone makes a concerted effort to protect supply.

Barry Deane is CEO of the NFGWS.

"We are asking members on group water schemes to please reduce their water consumption and to report any leaks that they see to their local GWS management committee.

"Water demand has increased significantly in the dry weather. Dairy cows can drink up to 50 litres of extra water per head per day and, with families at home more due to Covid-19, domestic consumption has also vastly increased. All of these extra demands are adding to the pressures on water sources.

"In one example of a groundwater-sourced GWS in Munster, the scheme has seen its daily water demand jump by over 60%.’

It warned that to conserve water, people can turn their taps off when brushing their teeth, fill a jug of water and keep it in the fridge instead of running a tap multiple times a day, take a short shower instead of a bath, and put away the hosepipe and power washer.

Paddling pools — while great fun — can waste a large amount of water. Farmers are asked to regularly check their drinking troughs and other areas of the farm for leaks.

Visit www.nfgws.ie for further water conservation advice for farmers, householders and businesses.

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