14 September 2018 Go back to News
First Fix Free Scheme intensifies to help tackle domestic leakage in Westmeath
Water levels in Lough Owel continue to drop
Irish Water is intensifying their First Fix Free Scheme to help tackle domestic leakage in Mullingar and surrounding areas as water levels in Lough Owel continue to drop and restrictions may be necessary on the Mullingar Regional Water Supply Scheme in the coming weeks affecting up to 50,000 customers.
After the exceptionally dry summer, Lough Owel currently does not have sufficient storage to sustain a full water supply to the population dependent on it, over the coming months. The Lough is spring fed lake and any rain that falls today will take a number of months to percolate through soils and bedrock before it gets to the lake. Even though there may be heavy rain on any given day, only the rain that falls on the lake, which is minimal, will have an immediate effect. To the end of August, Co. Westmeath has received just 52% of expected rainfall for the year; this figure should have been 67% to ensure adequate replenishment of the Lough.
Continuing to monitor the situation at Lough Owel
We continue to monitor the situation at Lough Owel and will re-assess the need for night-time restrictions. A decision will be made on the week commencing September 24.
Free leak investigation for householders
Such is the critical nature of the situation in Mullingar and surrounding areas, We will be carrying out an intensified campaign to promote their First Fix Free Scheme in the area. Letters will be sent to householders where a recent water meter reading indicates that there may be a leak their property. As part of the First Fix Free Scheme, We will offer these householders a free leak investigation. The main purpose of this investigation is to determine the location of the leak. If the leak is located on the supply pipe external to the house (i.e. it is not within or underneath the house), We will be able repair it free of charge under the Scheme. There is more information available on the Scheme on Irish Water’s First Fix Scheme page. We are also urging customers to make contact and report leaks on their properties. You can report a leak online via our Report a Leak form or by calling us on 1850 278 278.
Found and Fixed 208 leaks in Mullingar
We have intensified work to find and fix leaks on the public network and we have found and fixed 208 leaks on the Mullingar Regional Water Supply Scheme so far this year. We have replaced aging water mains in order to combat the leakage problem at the following locations:
- Knockdrin – 3.5km of mains replaced north of the Mullingar by-pass/N4
- Tyrrellspass – 800m of mains rehabilitation
- Tore Rd Tyrellspass – 800m of mains rehabilitation
- Kilbeggan Village - full rehabilitation and lead mains replaced
- Rathconnell – 1200m of mains rehabilitation due to be commissioned this week.
- Replacement of watermains at Dublin Road Kilbeggan, Dublin Road Moate and Guildford Tyrrellspass.
Commencing the rehabilitation of 4.5km of water main in Ballinagore
We will be shortly be commencing the rehabilitation of 4.5km of water main in the Ballinagore area and the replacement of old back yard services in Mullingar in October.
Commenting on the current situation, John O’Donoghue, Irish Water Head of Operations for the East and Midlands Region said,
‘‘It is very important that people are aware that they may face a restricted water supply over the coming weeks. We are working to try to avoid having to introduce restrictions but it is looking likely that restrictions may be unavoidable in order to avoid widespread outages. The rainfall in August has simply not been sufficient after a dry winter combined with the exceptionally dry period over the summer. We would need a persistent and ongoing spell of heavy rain in order to get the levels in Lough Owel back to where they would normally be for this time of the year. That’s why we are intensively targeting Westmeath for our First Fix Free Scheme. It is essential that anyone who receives a First Fix Free letter contacts us as a matter of urgency so we can initiate an investigation. In conjunction with this we have a programme of concentrated works to fix leaks on the public side of the network, all of which will help alleviate the pressure on Lough Owel. I wish to thank consumers for their efforts to conserve water and ask them to continue to do so wherever possible and report any leaks they see to Irish Water on 1850 278 278. The public response to the Water Conservation Order have greatly aided our efforts to reduce demand in Mullingar, Rathowen, Ballynacarrigy, Ballymore, Moate, Kilbeggan Castletown Geoghegan, Tyrrellspass, Rochfordbridge, Kinnegad, Killucan and Taghman. Every effort you make to conserve water has a positive impact on the wider community.”
Water Conservation Advice
For more information on how to conserve water at home, in the garden, on the farm, or at work, visit our Water Conservation page.
Water Conservation Order
The Water Conservation Order remains in place in Co. Westmeath until the end of September. Irish Water will continue to provide updates on Lough Owel and any potential restrictions.