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Water shortages & restrictions

Why water shortages occur and what happens when there are restrictions in place for Ireland.

Why Ireland experiences water shortages

Water is vital which makes scarcity a real threat. A short spell of dry weather does not cause water shortages. However, we do need regular rainfall throughout the year to build up our water supplies. Here are a few reasons why water shortages happen.


Climate change

Climate change is leading to more frequent and intense weather events, such as flooding and dry spells. This impacts our water resources which can mean we need to put restrictions in place.


Increasing demand

For some regions, supplies are nearing their maximum capacity. A growing population in Ireland puts more demand on our water resources. By 2044, we expect to need around 40% more treated water.


Leaking pipes

About 38% of Ireland's drinking water is lost to leaks before it reaches our taps. The leaks can be in the public water infrastructure or in private homes and businesses.


Agriculture and industry use

Agriculture and businesses use significant amounts of water. Agricultural activities are at their peak in the summer when supplies can already be under pressure.

Ways to save

The average person in Ireland uses about 133 litres of water a day. We can all do our part by making small changes to our daily routines.

More water saving tips More water saving tips - opens in a new tab

Fix dripping taps

A leaking tap wastes between 400 and 2,600 litres per month!

Take a shower instead

Taking a shorter shower can save up to 10 litres of water a minute.

Fill your water in a jug

Keep a jug of water in the fridge instead of running the cold tap.

Keep your home warm

Leave heating on for longer periods at lower settings. It allows warm air to circulate.

Don't use the hose

Use a rosehead watering can in the garden instead of a hose or sprinkler.

Put on a full load

Run your washing machine and dishwasher with full loads, so you run it less often.

Get a free leak repair

Apply for a free leak investigation with the First Fix Free scheme. It's vital to reduce the amount of treated water we lose through leaks. If you think you have a leak, you may be eligible for a free repair

Tackling low water supplies

We're always monitoring water supplies nationwide. Water conservation orders or hosepipe bans are only introduced if absolutely necessary. Restrictions focus water use on essential needs while supplies are low. How do we address low water supplies during restrictions?


1. Manage the network

During shortages we change how we pump our water around the network. This is so customers on higher ground and on the edges of our networks do not suffer reduced service.


2. Change water flows

We can also change how much water flows through our pipes to make sure people continue to have a supply.


3. Tanker water to drought areas

If a supply is so low that we cannot keep producing water, we bring treated water from another area that is less at risk.


4. Increase leak repair teams

More crews are out repairing pipes during restrictions so we can reduce the water lost to leaks.

Vulnerable customers

We aim to prioritise vulnerable customers. If you are critically dependant on water for medical needs, register online or call us on 1800 278 278 or +353 1 707 2828. An alternative water supply arrangement will be made for you, if needed.