Heatwave puts water supply officially 'at risk' for thousands of Laois homes

Irish Water appeal to the public to conserve supplies

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

water heatwave

Irish Water appeal to people to conserve water over drought fears

Water supplies to thousands or Laois households are officially 'at risk' in Portlaoise, Mountmellick and the village of Rosenallis in the Slieve Bloom moutains.

Irish Water has been monitoring supplies during the heatwave and has now declared that poeople who rely on supplies to the two towns and village are 'areas at risk'. 

A restriction is already in place for the Swan in the south of the county.

Irish Water said its Drought Management Team is meeting daily and is monitoring water supplies and demand around the country. Nationally, Irish Water have today identified 100 water supply schemes around the country that are now at risk.

Portlaoise, Mountmellick and Rosenallis are the three schemes affected. The Portlaoise scheme is the biggest in the county serving the town and some surrounding areas including Mountmellick.

Customers in Kilkenny, Longford, Athlone, North Galway, Louth and Kerry have already experienced restricted water supply and outages in some cases. Currently almost 4,000 customers are impacted.

Some areas in Cork, Wicklow, Limerick, Kilkenny, Carlow, Tipperary, Clare, Mayo, Sligo, Donegal, Galway, Roscommon, Laois, Limerick, Kerry, Waterford and Offaly have been identified as being at risk.

Commenting on the ongoing situation, Irish Water’s Corporate Affairs Manager, Kate Gannon said the company is grateful to the public and to businesses for all efforts to conserve water.

"Every small measure has a positive impact...Several other businesses who are large water users have confirmed to us that are implementing water conservation measures and we are very thankful to them for their contribution.”

The company said that where restrictions are necessary it is endeavouring to do them at times that will have the minimal impact on homes and businesses.

Irish Water says it has been liaising with farming representative groups to provide what practical suppor.

“We have a long way to go. If the drought is prolonged, water restrictions would become unavoidable if demand does not continue to drop. Irish Water are appealing to the public to be continue to be mindful of their water usage. Every effort someone makes in their home or business impacts their neighbour and community. Irish Water have lots of tips for conserving water in the home, garden and business on water.ie.”

“Irish Water is also currently assessing all legal options open to us and how they could be implemented. Our first priority is to work with customers and support them as they conserve water but we will have to use legal measures if necessary.”

“The situation remains critical and we are continuing to seek the public’s help. Every effort the public make to conserve water will help to minimise risk of supply loss to them and their community,” said Ms Gannon.

The company added that it has been working with the local authorities advising of additional measures to protect Dublin’s water supplies as the water usage has increased again in the last 24 hours.

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In the Greater Dublin Area, Irish Water says can sustainably and safely produce 610 million litres of water per day. In the past 24 hours demand reached 615 megalitres. This level of demand meant drawing from treated water storage to maintain full supply. This option can only be maintained for a limited period of a few weeks. This record level of summer consumption is also depleting raw water reserves needed for the coming months.

Irish Water’s priority is to minimise the impact on homes and businesses, particularly during this period of holidays and high tourism. Working with the local authorities Irish Water has lowered night time water pressure levels in the Greater Dublin Area to the minimum level that will not impact businesses but will assist Irish Water managing demand more effectively.

Irish Water is monitoring reports of private side leaks and other non-essential uses and is reviewing its enforcement options. We will update on these in the coming days.

Irish Water remains very concerned about the possibility of having to impose restrictions in the long term. This will become unavoidable if the dry conditions persist into the Autumn with lower than normal rainfalls.

Demand for water is increasing while levels in rivers and lakes are dropping significantly which means that is there is less water available to treat and supply to homes and businesses.