BREAKING - Irish Water make announcement on Laois water ban

Michelle Hogan

Reporter:

Michelle Hogan

BREAKING  - Irish Water make announcement on Laois water ban

BREAKING - Irish Water make announcement on Laois water ban

Irish Water has issued a National Water Conservation Order also known as a hosepipe ban in all counties including Laois in order to conserve water during the ongoing heatwave. 

The ban is in place from 8am on Friday, 6 July to midnight on Tuesday 31 July as a drought continues across the country

Met Éireann advised that there has been little or no rain over the last 30 days, with an average soil moisture deficit of 60mm meaning even if it did rain, no water would reach our water sources for at least a week, as it will be absorbed by the ground.

The ban will be in place for all domestic public water supplies and commercial premises for non-commercial activities including watering gardens attached to a business premises.

In Laois, water levels in the aquifer supplying the Portlaoise Water Supply Scheme are reducing but current demand from customers is being met. No restrictions are planned tonight.

In the Laois South East Regional Supply – The source of this supply is Kyle Spring. Ballyadams, Crannagh, Ballylinan and Pedigree are experiencing lower pressures since Sunday due to necessary supply restrictions to the local service reservoir but not the customers.

The treatment capacity of the plant is approximately 2500m3 per day. For the past 10 days demand has been outstripping supply by 180m3 per day. This has resulted in the main reservoir at Gallow Hill being almost depleted. Irish Water is asking customers to conserve water as much as possible.

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. Four static water tankers are in place throughout the network for public use.  An additional tanker was made available from Monday morning for supply for farm animals only. It is hoped that this will reduce agricultural demand on the water supply scheme.

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

The scope of the National Water Conservation Order is the same as the one applied to the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) on Monday, 2 July 2018. Irish Water may review the scope of both over the coming weeks.

The order has been issued due to the continued drought conditions and to help protect water supplies now and over the coming months.

High levels of sunlight means significant evaporation levels on water sources. The average soil moisture deficit is currently 60mm nationally which means even if it did rain, no water would reach our water sources as it would be absorbed by the ground. 

The continuation of these drought conditions nationally is putting pressure on water sources as rivers, lakes and groundwater levels drop.

On average demand across all water resources nationally has increased by 15%, and given the environmental pressures on the aquifers and waterbodies, this cannot be sustained for any period of time.

Due to soil moisture conditions, smaller groundwater sites in particular may take many months to recover.

The National Water Conservation Order has the potential to suppress any non-essential increases in demand during this period, and prevent increased abstraction at a time when the raw water sources are least able to support these volumes.

Irish Water has thanked the public for their conservation efforts to date and we continue to encourage and support the public in their efforts to reduce usage. We are grateful for all measures that have been taken in homes and businesses.

Irish Water’s top priority during the current dry period is to protect the water supply for use in homes and businesses in the coming weeks and months.

As demand continues to outstrip supply and the warm weather looks set to continue, Irish Water has taken the extra step to use the legal options open to us. Section 56 (16) of the Water Services Act 2007 allows for an effective ‘hosepipe ban’.

The Water Conservation Order (hosepipe ban) will be in place until midnight on Tuesday, 31 July for domestic users and for non-commercial use by commercial bodies. Irish Water will keep the situation under review and may have to extend the period of time the order is in place.

Water Conservation Order

The prohibited uses are as follows:

Use of water drawn through a hosepipe or similar apparatus for the purpose of –

watering a garden
cleaning a private motor-vehicle using a domestic hosepipe
cleaning a private leisure boat
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)
filling or maintaining an ornamental fountain (with the exception of such use for commercial purposes)
filling or replenishing an artificial pond, lake or similar application.
This prohibition will apply from 8am on Friday, 6 July 2018 until midnight 31 July 2018.

The Irish Water Conservation Order (hosepipe ban) does not apply to private wells or private group water schemes. Working with the National Federation of Group Water Schemes we urge all water users to conserve water during this drought period and over the coming months to protect all water supplies.

Irish Water’s Corporate Affairs Manager is Kate Gannon.

“Imposing a national Water Conservation Order (hosepipe ban) reflects the serious need for water conservation now and over the coming months. It is essential that our water supply resources are conserved to help avoid further restrictions and outages over the coming weeks and months.

“We are really grateful for the measures that people have taken to conserve water so far and we hope that placing a Water Conservation Order (hosepipe ban) will make people more mindful of their responsibilities and the impact their water usage is having on their neighbours and communities.

“Irish Water is mindful of the impact that a Water Conservation Order might have on businesses and the tourist industry and for that reason the prohibition is mainly limited to domestic users but does include commercial premises for non-commercial activities e.g. watering gardens attached to a business premises.

“The utility continues to be in touch with large commercial users who have committed to conserving water and we are very grateful to them for their efforts. We are also appealing to them to limit all non-essential water use and to avoid using hosepipes or power washers where possible, particularly if it is for cosmetic reasons," she said.