7 March 2018 Go back to News
Update on water supply across Ireland following the aftermath of Storm Emma
Condition of aged pipes has contributed to widespread outages
The aftermath of Storm Emma has had a significant impact on the water network around the country as the extreme cold damaged water treatment plants and has led to significant burst in pipes. The condition of our pipes, particularly in Dublin where the average age is 80 years, has contributed to the widespread outages and water restrictions experienced by customers all over the country.
Our crews have been mobilised across Dublin and around the country to make the necessary repairs at plants and to fix bursts. Significant progress is being made.
Three major bursts in Dublin have been repaired
In Dublin three major bursts in the North Docklands, Infirmary Road and Skerries were wasting the equivalent of the daily water usage of Balbriggan which has a population of about 25,000. These have now been repaired.
In Donegal, repairs done by County Council staff means that the 46,000 people on water restrictions now have normal service restored. Other counties which also had significant numbers of people on no or restricted water are back to normal including Kerry, Westmeath, Laois and Longford. Irish Water recognises that many of our water customers continue to face severe impacts from water interruption or restrictions, where customers only have water at certain times. These are likely to continue for a number of days.
Restrictions confined to night time hours where possible
Irish Water, working with the local authorities is attempting to minimise the impact of these restrictions by confining them to night time hours where possible.
On Monday 5 March, the demand for drinking water across Dublin outstripped the supply by 28 mega litres which is the equivalent of the daily usage of Cork City.
Irish Water had to act to protect homes and businesses in Dublin and avoid widespread outages in the capital. The decision to reduce pressure across the Dublin network for a 12 hour period was one that was not taken lightly but we needed to ensure the city continued to function.
Working with the four local authorities, we assessed the impact of the 12 hour reduction in pressure on our reservoirs and the reduction from tonight will be from 8pm to 6am.
Hospitals on the network are prioritised and water has been diverted to them
In all, over 23,000 people are without water and an additional 39,000 have restricted supply due to low levels in reservoirs. These numbers are subject to change as more bursts and repairs occur.
Those without water include 4000 in Galway; 2,800 in Leitrim; 12,250 in Tipperary; and 4000 in Wexford.
Those on restricted supply include almost 14,000 in Leitrim; 2,200 in Cork; 7,800 in Galway; 150 in Kerry; 300 in Leixlip; 2,500 in Mayo; and 12,500 in Meath.
Customers asked to conserve water where possible
Other areas particularly smaller drinking water schemes may experience some lower pressure too due to high demand which is why it is so important that people conserve water where possible.
Just over 14,000 people are on storm related Boil Water Notices. Of those affected, 1900 are in Aughrim in Co. Wicklow, over 11,000 are in Enniscorthy and the remainder are on small schemes in Waterford.
Do Not Drink Notice on Fethard Public Water Supply
Due to hydrocarbon contamination of the source supplying the Fethard Public Water Supply, Irish Water and Tipperary County Council, in consultation with the HSE, have issued a Do Not Drink notice for customers supplied by this scheme affecting 12,000 people. This number is included in the ‘without water’ category.
We are working with Tipperary Co. Council to resolve the issue but it is expected to stay in place for a few days.
Alternative Water Supplies
Water tankers will be provided to assist customers in these areas. Details of the locations are available on our Water Tanker Location Map.
Irish Water continues to appeal to customers all across the country to conserve water at this time. Increasing demand coupled with weather related bursts and leaks has resulted in our water treatment plants running at capacity which could lead to even more outages and restrictions in the coming week.
Our customer care helpline is open 24/7 on 1850 278 278 for customers to report outages. Please continue to report loss of service or visible leaks to assist Irish Water to identify bursts.
Once further information is available we will issue another update. Updates will also be posted to our Service and Supply section.
We are asking people to conserve water by taking some simple actions:
- Take shorter showers e.g. 4 minutes or less as an average shower uses 10 litres of water per minute
- Turn off your taps when brushing your teeth as a running tap can use up to six litres of water per minute
- Keep a jug of water in the fridge as waiting for a tap to run cold water to drink can waste more than 10 litres of water in a day
- Reduce the use of water using devices such as dishwashers and washing machines, only using when full
Some customers may experience water quality or supply issues when water has been restored following an outage. Check out our helpful tips on what to do.