Low pressure and intermittent water supply interruptions in a number of housing developments

Irish Water acknowledges that low pressure and intermittent water supply interruptions have been experienced for several years at connections in a number of housing developments in Ballyhooly, in particular at Lios Ard, Ard Abhainn, Gleann Úll and also at Glash na Brack and The View. Demand for water has increased considerably over the past month, due in large part to the exceptionally dry weather, and this has served to negatively impact on already low water pressures.

Ballyhooly Water Supply Scheme

Cork County Council, on behalf of Irish Water, have made a number of specific interventions on the Ballyhooly water supply scheme over the last three weeks, intended to improve water pressure and availability in the most affected areas.

These short-term measures include the following:

  • Valves have been opened to augment supply from the adjacent Castletownroche scheme providing water to areas to the west, near Castletownroche, normally served by the Ballyhooly scheme.
  • At night-time, restrictions are implemented on parts of the network to maximise pressure in the affected areas and fill attic-tanks overnight.
  • Leak detection and repair is ongoing throughout the network. To facilitate this work, parts of the network are shut-off and supply interruptions will be experienced during these periods.
  • Crews are being mobilised to investigate and carry out First Fix repairs on the private side where domestic meters show a continuous night time flow.
  • High consumption rates at a number of connections off the supply pipe between the reservoir and the village are being investigated.

What are the result of the interventions?

The result of the interventions made to date is that minimum pressure readings in the affected areas are at 23 psi (or 1.5 bar) which is equivalent pressure to lift water approximately 15 metres. The pressure has been measured on the public network and at the boundary valves at specific connections where no water has been experienced. While internal plumbing from the boundary is the responsibility of the property owner, water flows have been observed at kitchen or outside taps connected directly to the mains that correspond to the pressure readings taken on the public side.

Water supplied at this pressure is sufficient for kitchen taps to operate normally and attic tanks to fill. It is noted that there are a number of three storey houses which may have storage tanks at a higher elevation than two-storey houses. However, with water pressure at 1.5 bar, any storage tank at this level should be filling. 

In addition to the measures taken on the network to improve pressure in affected areas, a temporary water station is established while these interventions are ongoing. Water taken from the tanker should be boiled and cooled before drinking or cooking use. The tanker is taken away every two days to refresh the water and to ensure compliance with drinking water quality requirements.

A more secure water supply

Notwithstanding the short-term measures undertaken by Irish Water and Cork County Council, it is acknowledged that infrastructural improvements would provide a more secure water supply to the community and businesses of Ballyhooly. On many water and wastewater schemes across the country, there is an infrastructure deficit and capital investment over a sustained period is required in order to meet the needs of a modern service. Specifically in relation to the Ballyhooly water supply scheme, initiatives are being examined for the medium and longer term. Irish Water and Cork County Council are examining the feasibility of installing a booster pump on the supply line from the reservoir to the village to improve water pressure over the medium term. At the same time, we are undertaking pressure logging so that we can understand the behaviour of the network and build computer models of the system for analysis. This analysis will feed into an assessment of feasible options for the longer term to determine the most efficient capital project so that funding can be sought. This assessment will take account of projected future growth and the availability or deficiencies of water resources in the surrounding areas.

Conserve Water

While every effort is being made to manage the Ballyhooly supply in the short term, and investigations continue to inform potential alternative infrastructure arrangements, we are seeking the continued support of the community and businesses to be mindful of all consumption of public drinking water. Every effort made, at home or at work, helps to alleviate the pressure on our water resources. We give practical suggestions for how households, farmers and businesses can help to conserve water on our Water Conservation.

We would like to thank the public in this area for their ongoing co-operation and patience as we work to address these issues and apologise for any inconvenience caused as a result.

Projects and Plans

To find out more about our upgrade projects taking place across the country, visit our Projects and Plans page. 

Cork

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