Water levels at Lough Owel have not recovered to the normal levels required to supply the 50,000 population

Irish Water is appealing to customers in Mullingar and surrounding areas to continue in their water conservation efforts as water levels at Lough Owel have not recovered to the normal levels required to supply the 50,000 residential and business customers on the Mullingar Water Supply Scheme. In a bid to reduce demand we have accelerated fixing leaks in the affected area and are appealing to the public for their support.

Low levels of rainfall

Up to the end of February rainfall in the region was significantly less than what fell during the same period last year. The low rainfall levels are having a significant impact on the levels of water available for us to abstract from Lough Owel to supply customers in the Mullingar Regional Water Supply. Current analysis indicates that without a prolonged period of heavy rain in the coming months, we may have no choice but to put night time restrictions in place for home and business-owners to safeguard the supply. Even with a prolonged period of heavy rain there is still a risk of restrictions as Lough Owel is a spring-fed lake and any rain that falls today will take a number of months to filter through soils and bedrock before it gets to the lake. We are working in partnership with Waterways Ireland and Westmeath County Council continue to manage the water level in the lake. The utility is also investigating other medium term solutions involving other water sources to supplement the Lough Owel supply. 

More than 10km of water mains replaced in the region

Our leakage reduction programme has replaced more than 10km of aging water mains in Knockdrin, Rathconnell, Tyreellspass, Kilbeggan and Kilbeggan racecourse to reduce loss of water in the network. We are currently engaging with customers in Mullingar as it begins a programme of replacement of backyard shared services. Backyard shared services are typically aged and leaky pipes and prone to driving up demand on water supplies. We are also contacting customers who may have a leak on their property as part of the First Fix Free Scheme. Customers whose meters have triggered a continuous flow alarm will be offered a free leak investigation. These efforts have seen more than 1 million litres of water per day saved in Westmeath. More information on First Fix is available here.

John O’Donoghue, Regional Operations Manager for the East and Midlands Region

‘‘Over the last two weeks there has been an increase in water levels at the Lough but they are still nowhere near what is expected for this time of year. Irish Water’s goal is to have a consistent, reliable source of water for the people of Mullingar. Putting on restrictions is a last resort. That’s why Irish Water are fixing leaks and addressing network issues in the area in order to save any water we can. But we need the public’s assistance. It is really important that public to conserve water where they can and if any households have received a First Fix Free notification, it is essential that they act quickly to avail of their leak investigation. Anyone who spots or suspects a leak should contact Irish Water on 1850 278 278.’’

Tips for water conservation

Simple water conservation efforts can have a significant impact on driving down demand on the supply. Actions such as turning off the tap while brushing your teeth and shaving can save up to 6 litres of water per minute. More tips on how to reduce your water usage here.

Westmeath

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