Demand for water remains high in many counties

23 July 2021

We are continuing to see high levels of domestic and commercial demand for treated drinking water

Irish Water is continuing to see high levels of domestic and commercial demand for treated drinking water as temperatures remain high. We would like to thank the public and ask for their continued support to conserve water in their homes, businesses and on farms. 

Irish Water has been working closely with Local Authorities across the country to maximise the amount of treated drinking water available to all customers. With the high temperatures and larger numbers of people in many tourist and coastal areas our caretakers and plant operators have being taking every measure to ensure that supply can keep up with increases in demand.

Irish Water produces 1.7 billion litres of water every day at over 750 water treatment plants with the majority of supplies stable with no impact to customers. There are currently 70 of the over 750 water treatment plants serving schemes that are in drought or at risk of drought, the majority in counties Limerick, Kerry, Cork, Wexford and Donegal. Most customers in these counties have had no impact to water supply however there are targeted night time restrictions within counties to ensure water supplies can be provided to customers during the day.

Tom Cuddy, Irish Water’s Head of Asset Operations, said: “We would like to thank the public, both homes and businesses, for continuing to conserve water right across the country. While we saw more rain than usual in May it followed one of the driest Aprils on record and in some areas of the country we have had little or no rain since early June. This puts supply pressure on areas that are reliant on groundwater sources which are slower to recharge. Over the past seven days there has been less than 1mm across the country and some stations in the Dublin area reporting 0mm. Soil moisture deficits have also been increasing steadily, ranging from around 20mm in parts of Connaught to 60mm in parts of the east. While temperatures are expected to drop next week, longer term forecasts predict drier than normal conditions will continue into August.”

Areas in drought or at most risk at the moment include parts of Limerick, Kerry, Cork, Wexford, Galway and Donegal, many on coastal areas. We are monitoring all our supplies carefully and can see similar challenges across areas of Northern Ireland, Wales, England, and Scotland as the dry weather impacts on supplies.”

Tom continued “Across the country Irish Water is working closely with our Local Authority partners to keep the taps flowing and we have put in place a range of measures including additional pumping at abstraction sources to increase supply of water, tankering water to reservoirs, changing networks to decrease the numbers of customers who could be impacted and in some cases reducing pressure at night-time to allow reservoirs to fill. In addition we have seen a number of major bursts as increases in demand and drying ground conditions contribute to pipes bursting we would like to thank customers for their patience as we mobilise crews to repairs and restore supplies.

There are currently no plans to implement a Water Conservation Order and the majority of our water treatment plants continue to provide unrestricted water supplies to customers despite the high levels of demand.”

There are lots of helpful tips for conserving water on water.ie but the key things are to leave the hose and the pressure washer in the shed; don’t use paddling pools; reuse household water for the garden; and take shorter showers. Safeguarding the supply of water is essential at this time when handwashing and hygiene is of critical importance. We are calling on everyone to play their part.”

Conserving water is something that we should be doing year round, not just when supplies come under pressure due to drought conditions and seasonal increases in demand. Small changes can have lasting results.

For example:

  • Take a shorter shower and save up to 10 litres of water per minute       
  • Fix dripping taps or leaking toilets in your home
  • When brushing your teeth or shaving, turn off the tap and save up to 6 litres of water per minute
  • Save and reuse water collected from baths, showers, and hand basins in the garden
  • Avoid using paddling pools
  • In the garden use a rose head watering can instead of a hose and aim for the roots
  • If you need to wash your car, use a bucket and sponge instead of a hose
  • Report any leaks to Irish Water at 1800 278 278.

Irish Water continues to work at this time with our Local Authority partners, contractors and others to safeguard the health and well-being of staff and the public and to ensure the continuity of drinking water and wastewater services. With the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic, the public are reminded to adhere to public health and HSE advice, and handwashing and hygiene remain critically important. Further water conservation information is available on our Conservation section.