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Donegal public asked to reduce water usage

13 August 2021

High levels of domestic and commercial demand for treated drinking water

Uisce Éireann is continuing to see high levels of domestic and commercial demand for treated drinking water in Donegal 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.

Uisce Éireann has been working closely with Donegal County Council 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.

Demand for water in Carrigart & Downings, Fanad and Rathmullan/Ramelton areas in Letterkenny; Clonmany, Carndonagh, Malin Town, Malin Head and Gleenely in Inishowen and across the Lough Mourne Water Supply Zone is high. As a result of low reservoir storage levels, night time restrictions have been put in place in Lifford, Convoy, Raphoe, Castlefinn, Ballybofey, Stanorlar and Glenfin.

Night-time restrictions in all other areas are now a real possibility if demand doesn’t ease, as water treatment plants continue to operate at maximum capacity.

Uisce Éireann and Donegal County Council are again appealing to residents, farmers, agricultural contractors, businesses and visitors to conserve water wherever possible to ensure a consistent supply for everyone. We are asking customers to only use water for essential use on the Lough Mourne Public Water Supply. There are some simple measures that the public can take including stopping the use of power washers at home; using a watering can rather than a hose in the garden; taking showers over baths; and fixing any dripping taps where it is possible to do so.

Speaking about the continuing need to conserve water, Uisce Éireann’s Asset Operations Lead for Donegal, Kevin Love said: “We are asking the public to conserve water where possible and to only use what they need whilst continuing to adhere to public health advice regarding COVID-19. We have seen demand creeping up in recent weeks, spiking over the past few days with all water supplies experiencing significant increases in demand at this time. We want to ensure we can meet the demands on our water supplies as COVID-19 restrictions are relaxing and the hospitality sectors reopens for business. It is really important that everyone follows the HSE guidance on handwashing, however there are some ways to conserve water that will not impact on hygiene.

Kevin continued: “In Uisce Éireann, we are continually working with our local authority partners to look at what we call the supply/demand balance. This means that we need to ensure that we can supply more treated drinking water than is required for use. We can manage this by conserving water; losing less by repairing leaks; and supplying smarter by ensuring that all of our plants are working optimally.

“We can all work together to protect our supply and safeguard our water for essential usage.

Everyone can contribute and the combination of effort will greatly help our ability to provide a continuous water supply to all. There is guidance and tips for conserving water available on our Conservation section.”

Small changes can have a significant impact, 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 Uisce Éireann at 1800 278 278.

In order to improve the situation owners of vacant and unused properties are being urged to turn off water to the property and to check for leaks around the building, especially around toilet cisterns.

Uisce Éireann 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.

Customers in Donegal can now avail of quick access to relevant information on their water supply, including restrictions, based on where they live. Customers can set their location on this website and check daily for updates in relation to their local water supply. Uisce Éireann also post regular supply updates on our social media channels @IWCare using #IWDonegal