Why has the Portlaoise water supply been at risk for most of the summer and will more houses cause future shortages?

Conor Ganly


Conor Ganly



Irish Water

Several towns in Laois have been at risk of drougth all summer

Irish Water says the continued at risk drought warning for Portlaoise is not related to the capacity of the system to process supply but due to the low level of the source.

The utility has also commented on the capacity of the town's under pressure supply to meet the extra needs of a raft of new planning applications for hundreds of new homes.

“The Portlaoise public water supply is classified as “at risk” of going into drought due to lower than normal raw water levels in the borehole sources as opposed to production capacity issues at the water treatment plant. Safeguarding our water supply for homes and businesses in Laois is a critical focus for us,” it said.

Irish Water said it could not comment on individual applications in Portlaoise regarding new connections.

However, the company said it is preparing a National Water Resources Plan to identify how to provide a sustainable, public water supply while safeguarding the environment.

It said it would continue to assess all connection enquiries on a case by case basis, to determine what upgrades if any are required to facilitate connections for each development.

Irish Water lifted the national hosepipe ban in early July week but supplies to Portlaoise, Portarlington and Mountmellick and other areas in Laois remain at risk of potential drought into the second half of July.

Irish Water said it is continuing to monitor all affected water sources as their recovery is fragile and subject to change.

"We will continue to liaise with Met Eireann, the OPW, the EPA and other key stakeholders to discuss the impact of weather on our sources. It is really important that members of the public develop good household habits at this time and conserve water, regardless of rainfall. Any non-essential use of water should be discouraged, whether we are in a drought or not," said a statement.

 You can find the latest updates on the website - https://www.water.ie/support/ drought-support/