Aftermath of Storm Emma has significant impact on water network

  • Irish Water and the six Greater Dublin Region Local Authorities had to act to protect homes and businesses in Dublin and avoid widespread outages
  • Demand for drinking water outstripped the supply
  • Pressure management will apply 8pm tonight to 6am

The aftermath of Storm Emma has had a significant impact on the water network around the country as the extreme cold damaged water treatment plants and has led to significant bursts in pipes. The condition of our pipes, particularly in Dublin where the average age is 80 years, has contributed to the widespread outages and water restrictions experienced by customers all over the country.

In the Greater Dublin Area, Irish Water saw an increase in demand from Friday 2 March to Sunday 4 March. Despite having our plants working at maximum output, storage of water in the reservoirs was significantly depleted. Demand is continuing to rise and our reservoir levels are low. There is not enough water in our reservoirs to meet the current levels of demand.

Demand for drinking water outstripped supply

On Monday 5 March across the Dublin region, the demand for drinking water outstripped the supply by 28 mega litres which is the equivalent of the daily usage of the population of Cork City.

Irish Water and the six Greater Dublin Region Local Authorities had to act to protect homes and businesses in Dublin and avoid widespread outages in the capital.

The decision to reduce pressure across the Dublin network for a 12 hour period on Monday evening was one that was not taken lightly but we needed to ensure the city continued to function.

Repairs to bursts and leaks are underway

Working with the four Dublin Local Authorities, we assessed the impact of the 12 hour reduction in pressure on our reservoirs. While some improvement has been realised, we have a way to go. This is essential to allow our reservoirs to refill as repairs to bursts and leaks are underway.

We are aware that some people were without water entirely and reviewed this situation with water engineers across the Dublin Councils today to see how we can minimise this impact. We are leveraging the best expertise across Irish Water and the four Dublin Councils to move water around the network and protect supply while protecting hospitals on the network.

Programme of water pressure management from 8pm

As a result, Irish Water and the Local Authorities across the Greater Dublin Region are undertaking a programme of water pressure management in Dublin, parts of Wicklow, Kildare and Meath from 8pm to 6am when supply will begin to return to normal levels. Taking feedback from customers it is hoped that this will allow the network to fill fully again earlier in the morning to allow for morning showers.

This is essential to allow our reservoirs to refill as repairs to bursts and leaks are underway.

Homes will have storage in their attic tanks and businesses should also have storage on site. We expect that on high ground and on the extremities of the network, people will be more likely to experience some outages.

 Almost 30 local authority crews working throughout the Greater Dublin Area

At present there are almost 30 local authority crews out across the Greater Dublin Area prioritising the most significant bursts and leaks first. We have additional specialised crews out finding leaks and additional crews both to find leaks and fix them ready to mobilse.

Vulnerable customers are being contacted to provide advice and support. Irish Water are working with the four Dublin local authorities and are reviewing this situation on an ongoing basis.

Water conservation tips

Irish Water is appealing to homeowners and businesses to conserve water at this critical time. For advice on water conservation for businesses, please visit our Business Page. For advice on water conservation for homes, please visit our Be Water Smart page.

Any visible leaks should be reported to Irish Water on 1850 278 278.  For elected representatives, Irish Water has dedicated phone lines in place. The phone number is 1890 578 578 for TDs and Senators; and for Councillors the Local Representative number is 1890 178 178.

Greater Dublin water restriction locations

Dublin, Meath, Wicklow

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