HEATWAVE

Heatwave pressure on water treatment means potential contamination says national group

Express Reporter

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Express Reporter

Portarlington on EU's list for inadequate water treatment

The National Federation of Group Water Schemes (NFGWS) has appealed to its members to use water wisely with a 'very real danger that the situation will deteriorate' due to the current heatwave. 

The federation has warned that water systems have a specific capacity and where this is exceeded, treatment systems cannot work as effectively increasing the risk of contamination in the water. 

"As the exceptionally high water demand currently being experienced has potential implications for human health, the NFGWS is urging group water scheme members to use water wisely and to avoid all unnecessary use.

"With emerging evidence of sources being under stress in the GWS sector, there is a very real danger that the situation will deteriorate in the coming days as high temperatures and lack of rainfall will inevitably put pressure on lake reservoirs and on spring sources in particular.

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"Apart from having less water available, the increase of at least 50/% in water demand currently being experienced in the sector is putting pressure on treatment systems also. These systems have a design capacity and where this is exceeded treatment systems (and especially filtration) cannot operate as effectively. This increases the risk of contaminants entering the drinking water supply.

"While universal metering on most schemes has meant that plants operate well within their design capacity under most circumstances, the current level of demand is putting plants under severe pressure. This problem of soaring demand is compounded by the fact that the algal blooms that arise on many of our lake sources are already putting pressure on filtration systems at this time of year.

"For spring supplies, 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.

"For the above reasons, the NFGWS is calling on GWS members to think carefully about how they are using water, to check for leaks on their properties and to refrain from any and all unnecessary use," a spokesperson said. 

The National Federation of Group Water Schemes is the representative and negotiating organisation for community-owned rural water services in Ireland.

The objective of the NFGWS is to secure equality of treatment, ensuring that those it represents receive their full entitlement with regard to the financial supports already conceded to their fellow citizens in urban areas.

The primary ‘external’ role of the National Federation of Group Water Schemes (NFGWS) is to assist schemes in meeting the challenges of water quality legislation. 

While water leaks are lower on group schemes that those on Irish Water supplies the usage is much higer. NFGWS representative Brian McDonald said wise usage is critical. 

Mr McDonald said two Laois schems could face difficulties because they are on spring sources. He said Ballacolla GWS recently had to source a new source while Cullohill was also a scheme that could be at risk.