Laois water supply 'coming under pressure' could impact 5,000 people says Irish Water

Irish Water has imposed a Water Conservation Order in the Greater Dublin Area today

Express Reporter

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Express Reporter

Laois water supply 'coming under pressure' could impact 5,000 people says Irish Water

Laois water supply 'coming under pressure' could impact 5,000 people says Irish Water

Irish Water is calling on the public to continue to conserve water as the weather remains warm and the drought is increasingly reducing capacity in rivers and boreholes.

Irish Water says that its production plants struggle to meet increasing demand and it is also appealing to the public to report leaks on the public water network and to repair private side leaks in both homes and in businesses.

In Laois, the Portlaoise water supply and the Derryguile Water Treatment Plant in particular is coming under pressure with a potential impact on approximately 5,000 people.

Restrictions are likely to be put in place this week unless the demand for water drops.

In Portarlington a number of areas are experiencing intermittent supply and/or low water pressure due to low borehole levels.

In the Laois South East Regional Supply – Ballyadams, Crannagh, Ballylinan and Pedigree will experience lower pressures from Sunday lunchtime due to necessary supply restrictions.

Also in Laois the Swan Water Treatment Plant is on nightly restrictions impacting approximately 1,500 people.

Irish Water continue to impose nightly planned water outages from 10 pm to 6 am to allow treated water levels in Wolfhill Reservoir to recover.

This water restriction will impact customers in The Swan, Wolfhill, Mayo and Doonane Co. Laois and will remain in place until water levels in the reservoir restore. Four static water tankers are in place throughout the network for public use.  An additional tanker was available on Monday morning for supply for farm animals only.

In the East and Midlands Region there are a number of supplies with water restrictions in place including in Athlone where there is difficulty meeting the water demand as levels in the Annagh Reservoir continue to drop, with the water treatment plant working to its limit. 

This is impacting approximately 8,000 people on the eastern side of the town on an ongoing basis and restrictions be in place again tonight and likely for some of next week unless demand drops substantially.

As the warm weather continues, the demand on water supplies is outstripping the supply across the country.

Irish Water is appealing to the public to conserve water as much as possible and to avoid unnecessary use of water.

As flows in rivers and water levels in boreholes reduce, conserving water now will safeguard scarce water resources for the remainder of the summer and into the autumn. 

The weather has been dry since late February this year with Met Éireann reporting that the level of rain that as fallen is on par with 1976 when a major drought was in place.

Irish Water is working with local authorities to conserve water availability, mobilizing extra crews and seeking maximum public cooperation in saving water.

There are 39 water supplies under night-time water restrictions in Ireland and over 100 water supplies at risk due to high consumption.

The Utility has also been in touch with large commercial users who have committed to conserve water and we thank them for their efforts and encourage all users of water to be mindful of how they can reduce their overall consumption.

In the Southern Region, water availability in 27 schemes is impacted by drought. Customer supply is being managed by tankering water to reservoirs, restricting supply at night and in a small number of cases providing emergency water stations.

Leakage Find and Fix crews are mobilised to reduce the water being lost through leaks both on the customer side and in the public network.

These measures are currently mitigating the impacts on business and household users and will have to be maintained for the foreseeable future.

In general, there has been an increase in demand of approximately 15 to 20%. 

Due to the rural nature of the region, many towns and villages are supplied by small streams and boreholes. The lack of rainfall is and will continue to impact on raw water availability and additional small schemes are likely to experience drought over the coming weeks.

The areas worst affected in the Southern region are Kilkenny (Bennettsbridge, Castlecomer and Innistigue) and the Central Regional supply in Carlow, in  Waterford in Loskeran, Balllaneen, Portlaw, Kilrossanty, Ardmore and Kealfoun.

In Limerick impacted schees are in Hospital, Oola, Knocklong, Herbertstown, Bruff, Lahall,  Newcastle West, Pallasgreen, Doon, Bruff. In Kerry in Inch, Ardfert, Ballytermon and in Cork in Freemount, Ballyhooley, Kilbrin and Gortnaskethy.

In Grandard in Longford the Lough Kinale Water Treatment Plant has decreasing water levels impacting approximately 300 people. 

A water standpipe facility providing water for non-domestic users in the Granardkill area is now in place. It will be manned twice daily in the mornings from 11am to 12pm and evenings 8 pm to 9 pm.

It is located beside the bottle bank at rear of Granard Garda Station. This temporary facility is intended for farmers and other business users in the Granardkill area who are impacted by the current water supply difficulty.

For domestic water users in the Grandkill area three static water tankers are available all day, these are located adjacent to Grandkill Old Cemetery. 

The Smear Water Treatment Plant also under pressure and restrictions are in place impacting around 500 people. In Offaly the Dunkerrin Borehole is under pressure with nightly restrictions impacting approximately 150 people.

The Ballinasloe Water Treatment Plant is operating at full capacity and reservoir levels are giving major cause for concern. Supplementary pumps have been deployed due to low water levels in the River Suck.

Customers in Ballinasloe, Laurencetown, Eyrecourt and Kiltormer are urged to reduce water usage in every way possible to ensure a continuous supply for all.

Aran Islands

Night time restrictions will be implemented on Inis Mór from 10pm to 7am commencing Monday, July 2.

This is to conserve water in the raw water reservoirs. Water usage on the island has increased by 40 per cent in the past week and reservoir levels are giving cause for very serious concern. Tankering is ongoing to Inis Mór.

Water consumption on Inis Oirr and Inis Meain has increased by 30 per cent in the past 10 days and Irish Water is urging customers to increase their efforts to conserve water on all of the Aran Islands. Water restrictions on Inis Oirr will continue nightly from 11pm to 7am.

Restrictions remain in place on the Ballyconneely Water Treatment Plant serving the Ballyconneely and Foreglass areas from 11pm to 7am for the foreseeable future. This is because demand on this scheme is now exceeding supply.

Demand in Tír na Fhía/Leitir Mór has increased significantly and some areas are experiencing outages. 

Clarenbridge Water Tower did not refill overnight last Thursday and storage is not sufficient to meet demand. Customers in Clarinbridge, Kilcolgan, Roveagh, Ballinderreen and Tyrone Group Water Scheme are urged to conserve water. Night-time restrictions will be imposed if the situation does not improve.

Due to very high demand in areas supplied by Tonabrocky reservoir, Irish Water has no choice but to restrict water supply at night time between the hours of 11pm and 7am.  

Barna, Moycullen, Knocknacarra, Kingston, Taylor’s Hill, Letteragh Road, Bishop O’Donnell Road, Clybaun Road, Cappagh Road, Ballymoneen Road (areas north of Western Distributor Road) may experience low pressure and reduced flow at night time.

These restrictions are essential to allow the Tonabrocky reservoir storage levels to recover and will remain in place at night time until further notice.

The usage in the Greater Dublin Area was marginally down over the weekend as many people left the area and businesses were closed. 

Usage remains well above normal for the capital. Irish Water is appealing to the public and business owners as they return to work tomorrow to continue to conserve water to protect water levels in our reservoirs. 

While Irish Water can currently produce up to 610 million litres per day, at these levels all headroom is exhausted and the sources, particularly Pollaphuca reservoir on the Liffey is being drawn down at a rate that puts supplies at risk later in the summer and into the autumn.

Irish Water’s Drought Management Team continues to meet daily and is monitoring water supplies and demand around the country.

This work is coordinated daily through three regional teams and the 31 local authorities operating the system.

Production is being maintained at record levels and local authority crews have been on the ground managing supplies, trying to control pressures and in critical schemes managing restrictions on night use to try to protect critical day-time use.

Crews are busy identifying and fixing leaks to try to take pressure of the system and Irish Water wants to recognise and acknowledge the efforts that are being made.

Irish Water is working to mobilise additional crews for finding and repairing leaks in support of the local authority efforts.

Irish Water has contractors available to assist with private side leaks under the ‘First Fix’ scheme. 

Water Conservation Orders 

Irish Water is using all tools available to promote water conservation and to protect our water supplies including mobilising leakage repair teams and has imposed a Water Conservation Order in the Greater Dublin Area which comes into effect tomorrow Monday, 2 July.

The Water Conservation Order will be in place until the 31st of July but Irish Water will keep the situation under review and may have to extend the period of time the Order is in place.

It is likely that similar orders will be brought in over the coming weeks on other schemes. 

The prohibited use will apply to the use of water drawn through a hosepipe or similar for the purpose of:

watering a garden
cleaning a private motor-vehicle using a domestic 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.

The primary purpose of these orders is to mobilize maximum public support and engagement on minimizing water use during the crisis.

Similar drought orders have been introduced in Northern Ireland and in British water utilities and operate by mobilizing public support for responsible behavior.

Irish Water is backing up these Orders by increasing the number of Call Centre agents to take calls from the public and will follow up such reports to encourage water conservation measures and to offer technical support, for example advice or support on how to repair leaks. 

Irish Water’s primary concern is for longer term supplies in late summer and autumn.

Based on modelling previous dry years, and allowing for how dry the ground now is, we need to maximise conservation of raw water at this time to secure our needs over the coming months. Therefore, these urgent conservation messages are of critical importance to communities in Dublin and the other marginal supply areas across the country.

Kate Gannon is Irish Water’s Corporate Affairs Manager.

“We have a serious challenge to ensure clean safe drinking water for everyone, given the current state of our network and the impact that sustained warm weather has had on water supplies both nationally and in the Greater Dublin Area.

"We thank everyone who has already taken action and we need a collective effort from the public to conserve water, and that behaviors change into the future as the threat to supplies remain beyond the current hot spell. 

"We urge customers to conserve water and to work with us by following our tips such as taking short showers instead of baths, turning taps off when brushing teeth and not using hosepipes in gardens and limiting use of water in paddling pools.

"It will take months for water levels to restore in raw water sources such as rivers, lakes and ground water supplies and for levels in our treated drinking water reservoirs to restore. We are asking the public to continue to conserve water in the months ahead and to follow our advice for longer term water conservation.

"When the current hot weather ends we will still need customers to be mindful of their water usage for the months ahead to protect the available water for the remainder of the summer and into the autumn.

"Wider water restrictions may become unavoidable if the demand does not drop towards normal levels. Every effort someone makes in their home or business impacts their neighbour and community and we are asking everyone to collectively take responsibility for their water usage to benefit their whole community.

”Local authority crews supported by contractor resources are working to maximise water availability, though managing pressures to the minimum which avoids loss of supply and repair leaks on the public network. This work will continue and intensify in the months ahead and we are using all available tools to monitor our water supplies to conserve water," she said.