Demand for water is outstripping supplies as warm weather continues

As the warm weather continues, the demands on water supplies is outstripping the supply in several areas around the country. This includes the Greater Dublin Area with increased demand at 10% above normal or more.

Irish Water is working with local authorities to do everything possible to conserve water available, examining how we can make further inroads into leakage and seeking maximum public cooperation in saving water. This requires that non-essential uses are stopped while the crisis lasts and we are drafting Drought Orders to ban such uses for schemes in crisis.

Large commercial users committed to conserving water

We will continue to encourage and support the public in their conservation efforts and we are grateful for all measures that have been taken in homes and businesses. In the last two days we have also been in touch with large commercial users who have committed to conserving water and we are very grateful to them for their efforts.

The usage in the Greater Dublin Area was marginally down overnight from yesterday at 607 million litres, but remains 5-6% above normal for the capital. While we can currently produce up to 610 million litres per day, at these levels all headroom is exhausted and the sources, particularly Pollaphuca reservoir on the Liffey is being drawn down at a rate that puts supplies at risk later in the summer.

Drought Management Team meeting daily while monitoring water supplies

Our Drought Management Team continues to meet daily and is monitoring water supplies and demand around the country. This work is coordinated daily through our three regional teams and the 31 local authorities operating the system. Local authority crews have been on the ground managing supplies, trying to control pressures and in critical schemes managing restrictions on night use to try to protect critical day-time use. Crews are busy identifying and fixing leaks to try to take pressure of the system. 

We would like to recognise and acknowledge the efforts that are being made and are working to mobilise additional resources for finding and repairing leaks in support of the local authority efforts.

Please continue to report all leaks on the public network

We continue to ask the public to notify us of leaks which we always follow up. Public side leaks are dealt with in the first instance by the local authority teams. We have contractors available to assist with private side leaks under the ‘First Fix’ scheme. Where we cannot access private property to repair obvious leaks, we are committed to serving enforcement notices under the legislation to enable us to have these effectively addressed.

You can report a leak online via our Report a Leak form or by calling us on 1850 278 278.

We have also mobilised tankers across the country to fill reservoirs that are most at risk to protect water supplies and ensure customers have access to water. We are also closely monitoring the water supply situation on the Aran Islands and we are ready to commence shipping water to the islands in the coming weeks as necessary. We are in touch with the farming organisations and offering assistance where water shortage is leading to animal welfare concerns. In critical situations we will accommodate farmers who need to collect water by tanker where it can be made available to meet urgent needs. For information on how to conserve water on farms, please visit our Water Conservation for Business section.

Urgent need to preserve our scarce water resources

As outlined, we recognise that the powers available to us to ban specific (non-essential) uses of water in the Water Services Acts will be needed to underpin the conservation objective. Irish Water will make and publicise a number of orders shortly which will designate activities which must be banned for a period while the supply remains critical. Ultimately, the objective of water saving and responsible water use must rely primarily on public cooperation. However, these drought orders will provide certain powers of enforcement to be used where necessary in support of the urgent need to preserve valuable and increasingly scarce water resources to meet essential social and economic needs.

Water conservation is critical to secure our needs over the coming months

In many of our schemes, our primary concern is for longer term supplies in late summer and autumn. Based on modelling previous dry years, and allowing for how dry the ground now is, we need to maximise conservation of raw water at this time to secure our needs over the coming months. Therefore, these urgent conservation messages are of critical importance to communities in Dublin and the other marginal supply areas across the country.

Commenting on the ongoing situation Corporate Affairs Manager and water conservation expert, Kate Gannon said “We are very grateful to the public and to businesses for all efforts to conserve water. We are very encouraged by the leadership shown by our large commercial users in their work to conserve water. Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann and Irish Rail have all committed to reducing the number of times they wash their fleets.

Irish Water’s priority is to minimise the impact on homes and businesses, particularly during this period of holidays and high tourism. Local authority crews supported by contractor resources are working to maximise water availability through managing pressures to the minimum which avoids loss of supply. This work will continue and intensify in the months ahead.

Every effort you make at home or at work will help

We have a long way to go. If the drought is prolonged, water restrictions will become unavoidable if demand does not drop towards normal levels. Every effort someone makes in their home or business impacts their neighbour and community. We have lots of tips for conserving water in the home, garden and business on”

We are working to support customers to conserve water in the first instance and we will take necessary legal measures available to us to ensure that we minimise risk of supply loss to businesses and communities.”

For more information, visit our Water Conservation page.

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