Water supply cut to 500 Portlaoise homes with no prior warning

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Filling glass of tap water

Water supply was cut off for a day without warning to 500 households for a whole day in Portlaoise recently.

There was no prior warning to residents, according to a Portlaoise councillor.

Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley says that Irish Water should be telling customers ahead of cutting off their water supply to fix leaks.

“The water was turned off, it affected Highfield meadows, The Grange, the Borris Road, Dr Murphy Place and St Brigid’s Place. It was off from 8am to 4.30pm,” she said.

The shut off happened on Wednesday, February 3 Cllr Dwane Stanley said.

“There was no notification to residents or councillors. I ask that Laois County Council email Irish Water. It is a small ask. Apparently they had to fix a leak that day, but they do have a responsibility,” she said.

She spoke at the Portlaoise Municipal District monthly meeting on February 16.

The council’s Town Manager for Portlaoise is Simon Walton.

“I am not aware of the specifics of this case. There are various bursts, but if people were not notified and they were disrupted for a day, I’m happy to communicate that they should be giving notification. As far as I’m aware there normally is,” he said.

Irish Water has explained what happened.

“Irish Water can confirm that on 3 February 2021 a burst occurred on the public network, impacting the water supply for approximately 500 customers in the Saint Brigid’s Place, Highfield Meadows, The Grange and Borris Road areas in Portlaoise. 

“When Irish Water and Laois County Council were made aware of the outage, we immediately investigated and worked as a matter of priority to repair the water main and restore normal water supply to impacted customers as quickly and as safely as possible, in adherence with strict HSE and government guidance on COVID-19.

“As this was an unplanned outage, it was not possible to provide advance notice to customers, however, information including the restoration time was added to the Irish Water website at https://www.water.ie/water-supply/supply-and-service-update/ as soon as possible following notification of the outage.

They say that for planned water shut-offs, they try to give customers a minimum of 48 hours’ notice, in accordance with the customer care guidance required by the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU).  

“We regret any inconvenience as a result of this unplanned disruption and thank residents for their patience while we worked to restore the water supply,” they said.

Irish Water added that it continues to work at this time with Local Authority partners, contractors and others to safeguard the health and well-being of both staff and the public and to ensure the continuity of critical drinking water and wastewater services.