Lough Owel reaches critically low levels due to dry spell

Irish Water is asking customers in Mullingar and surrounding areas to continue in their water conservation efforts as Lough Owel, which supplies water to 50,000 homes and businesses on the Mullingar Water Supply Scheme, has now reached critically low levels. 

Up to 24 January there has been just a quarter of the average expected rainfall for January.  The expected normal rise in water levels in the lake has stalled due to the current dry spell and while water levels are expected to rise later in the spring, Irish Water and Waterways Ireland are working to proactively manage the water level in the lake in order to reduce the risk of water outages in the coming summer and autumn.

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. Even though there may be heavy rain on any given day, only the rain that falls on the lake, which is minimal, will have an immediate effect.

Over 1 million litres of water saved per day as part of First Fix Free Scheme

In an effort to save water and keep restrictions to a minimum, we have saved more than 1 million litres of water per day as part of its First Fix Free Scheme in Co. Westmeath. As part of the First Fix Free Scheme. We alert customers whose meters have triggered a continuous flow alarm and offering them the opportunity to avail of a free leak investigation. For more information, visit our First Fix Free page.

Leakage reduction on the Lough Owel supply

We have accelerated our leakage reduction programme works and are replacing aging water mains in order to reduce leakage on the water network on the Lough Owel supply at the following locations:

  • Knockdrin, Mullingar – Rising water main renewal – 3.4 km – complete
  • Rathconnell, Mullingar - Water main renewal – 1.2 km – complete
  • Tore, Tyrrellspass - Water main renewal – 800 m – complete
  • Mullingar Road, Tyrrellspass – Water main renewal – 800 m – complete
  • Main Street, Kilbeggan – Water main renewal including lead service replacement – 500 m – complete

Further leakage reduction works are underway. We have commenced the rehabilitation of 4.5km of water main at the Kilbeggan Racecourse which is scheduled to be completed in March. The replacement of old back yard services in Mullingar is also underway.

Conserve water where possible

Commenting on the current situation, John O’Donoghue, Irish Water Head of Operations for the East and Midlands Region said ‘‘It is very important that people are aware of what may be coming down the tracks. We are working in partnership with Westmeath County Council and Waterways Ireland to mitigate risks associated with low water levels in Lough Owel. Irish Water is working steadfastly to address the network issues in the area but we are asking for the assistance of the local community to support this by conserving water and driving down demand on the supply."

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. For more tips on how to reduce your water usage, visit our Water Conservation page.


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