Lough Owel

Irish Water is appealing to all customers on the Mullingar Regional Water Supply to conserve water where possible in a bid to lessen the demand on the already overstretched water supply.                   

The utility is warning the 50,000 customers on the supply that restrictions could be needed in the coming weeks if water levels at Lough Owel fail to improve. The supply feeds homes and businesses in Mullingar, Kinnegad, Moate, Rochfortbridge, Kilbeggan, Tyrrellspass and surrounding areas.

Rainfall levels in the Mullingar area have been significantly lower than average since the beginning of 2019. Coming after the drought of last year this has had a significant impact on the amount of water Irish Water has been able to abstract from the Lough to feed the water supply.

Commenting on the situation, John O’Donoghue, Irish Water’s Regional Operations Manager for the East and Midlands Region said: ‘‘We are concerned about water levels in Lough Owel and are working hard to avoid having to put restrictions in place. That said, without the combination of an extended spell of rain and a reduction in demand on the supply we may be left with no other choice. If introducing restrictions becomes necessary, the lower the demand on the supply, the less severe the restrictions will be.

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. Keeping a jug of water in the fridge instead of running the cold tap can save 10 litres of water per day. In the garden, we’re asking people to recycle water, such as water used in food preparation or washing up, for watering flowers and lawns. For more tips on how to reduce your water usage visit our Conservation section.

Irish Water’s goal is to have a consistent, reliable source of water for Mullingar and surrounding areas. Putting on restrictions will be a last resort. We continue to fix leaks and address network issues in the area in order to save any water we can and safeguard the water supply. But we need the public’s assistance. It is also really important that 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.’’

Lough Owel is a spring-fed lake - any rain that falls today will take months to filter through soils and bedrock before reaching the lake. Irish Water working in partnership with Waterways Ireland and Westmeath County Council continue to manage the water level in the lake.

In a bid to reduce demand on the water supply Irish Water has accelerated fixing leaks in the area and are appealing to the public for their support. Irish Water’s leakage reduction programme has replaced more than 10km of aging water mains in Knockdrin, Rathconnell, Tyrrellspass and Kilbeggan and to reduce loss of water in the network. Irish Water is 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. Irish Water is 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, visit our First Fix section.

Mullingar Regiomnal Water Supply Scheme

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