We thank the public for their conservation efforts so far and we urge them to continue to conserve water

Irish Water has confirmed that a National Water Conservation Order commonly referred to as a hosepipe ban will be in place from 8am on Friday, 6 July until midnight on Tuesday, 31 July 2018 for all domestic public water supplies and commercial premises for non-commercial activities e.g. watering gardens attached to a business premises. The scope of this Order is the same as the one applied to the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) on Monday, 2 July 2018. Irish Water may review the scope of both over the coming weeks. 

The order has been issued due to the continued drought conditions and to help protect water supplies now and over the coming months. Met Éireann has advised that there has been little or no rain over the last 30 days and predictions show no significant rainfall is likely for at least a further week, meaning deepening drought conditions. 

High levels of sunlight means significant evaporation levels on water sources. The average soil moisture deficit is currently 60mm nationally which means even if it did rain, no water would reach our water sources as it would be absorbed by the ground. The continuation of these drought conditions nationally is putting pressure on water sources as rivers, lakes and groundwater levels drop.

On average demand across all water resources nationally has increased by 15%, and given the environmental pressures on the aquifers and waterbodies, this cannot be sustained for any period of time. Due to soil moisture conditions, smaller groundwater sites in particular may take many months to recover. The National Water Conservation Order has the potential to suppress any non-essential increases in demand during this period, and prevent increased abstraction at a time when the raw water sources are least able to support these volumes.

Irish Water thanks the public for their conservation efforts to date and we continue to encourage and support the public in their efforts to reduce usage. We are grateful for all measures that have been taken in homes and businesses.

Irish Water’s top priority during the current dry period is to protect our water supply for use in homes and businesses in the coming weeks and months. As demand continues to outstrip supply and the warm weather looks set to continue, Irish Water has taken the extra step to use the legal options open to us. Section 56 (16) of the Water Services Act 2007 allows for an effective ‘hosepipe ban’.

The Water Conservation Order (hosepipe ban) will be in place until midnight on Tuesday, 31 July for domestic users and for non-commercial use by commercial bodies. Irish Water will keep the situation under review and may have to extend the period of time the order is in place.

Water Conservation Order

The prohibited uses are as follows:

Use of water drawn through a hosepipe or similar apparatus for the purpose: 

  • watering a garden
  • cleaning a private motor-vehicle using a domestic hosepipe
  • cleaning a private leisure boat 
  • filling or maintaining a domestic swimming or paddling pool (except when using hand held containers filled directly from a tap)
  • filling or maintaining a domestic pond (excluding fish ponds)
  • filling or maintaining an ornamental fountain (with the exception of such use for commercial purposes)
  • filling or replenishing an artificial pond, lake or similar application.

This prohibition will apply from 8am on Friday, 6 July 2018 until midnight 31 July 2018.
The Irish Water Conservation Order (hosepipe ban) does not apply to private wells or private group water schemes. Working with the National Federation of Group Water Schemes we urge all water users to conserve water during this drought period and over the coming months to protect all water supplies. 

Speaking about the legal move, Irish Water’s Corporate Affairs Manager Kate Gannon said “Imposing a national Water Conservation Order (hosepipe ban) reflects the serious need for water conservation now and over the coming months. It is essential that our water supply resources are conserved to help avoid further restrictions and outages over the coming weeks and months. 

“We are really grateful for the measures that people have taken to conserve water so far and we hope that placing a Water Conservation Order (hosepipe ban) will make people more mindful of their responsibilities and the impact their water usage is having on their neighbours and communities.

“Irish Water is mindful of the impact that a Water Conservation Order might have on businesses and the tourist industry and for that reason the prohibition is mainly limited to domestic users but does include commercial premises for non-commercial activities e.g. watering gardens attached to a business premises.

“The utility continues to be in touch with large commercial users who have committed to conserving water and we are very grateful to them for their efforts. We are also appealing to them to limit all non-essential water use and to avoid using hosepipes or power washers where possible, particularly if it is for cosmetic reasons.”
See full video below. 

How are we conserving water in your supply area?

Monitor Supply and Demand levels
Every morning our Drought Management Team meets and assesses source levels and the amount of water used within the water supply zones. This tells us that some water supplies (rivers, lakes, wells, boreholes) are dropping to very low levels, and also tells us when demand has increased in an area, and where  people are using more water than the plant can treat or the reservoir can store. Once we have assessed the schemes, we determine which ones need to have restrictions imposed to protect water for coming months, and where schemes are at risk and need support from our operations teams to keep water supplied to businesses and homes. We then ensure all the activities are carried out to keep water flowing to homes and business in areas of drought.

Reduce Pressure at Night
At night customer demand is at its lowest, so we can reduce pressure on our networks during this time. This means that water will flow out of your tap at a slower rate but still give enough water to fill the tank in your attic. This way, we can reduce demand without impacting customers. 

Reconfigure the Network
In larger more complex networks, we can change how the water flows through our pipes to get to home and businesses. If there is a way for us to reconfigure the networks to maintain supplies to customers, we will do this to make sure people continue to have a water supply.

Deploy Additional Leak Detection and Repair Crews
Through our Leakage Reduction Programme, we are spending €500 million to reduce leakage. This is an ongoing work and happens every day across out 63,000 kilometres of water pipes. We can ramp up leak detection and repair crew in certain areas through this programme, to provide emergency support over and above our normal operational crews.

Alter Pumping Regimes
When demand is high, water can be used up by people along our pipelines before it gets to everyone. Sometimes, if we change how we pump our water from sources and areas of the networks, this can help us in times of extra demand. This is another way for us to keep water flowing, especially to people who may be affected on higher ground and on the edges of our networks. 

Tanker Water to Drought Areas
If a supply is so low that we cannot keep producing water, we can tanker in treated water from another area that is less at risk. This means pumping water out of one area, filling up a tanker, driving to the area in drought, and filling up treated water reservoirs, so people continue to have water for their daily needs.  

Restrict Water at Night
If the source is very low, or the demand is extremely high, we will run out of water very quickly. In order to protect water supplies for the coming months, we restrict water use at night, to allow treated water reservoir recover in time for the next day, when businesses and homes need it the most. In this way, we maintain supply and protect the limited water for the weeks and months ahead. 

Water Conservation Order
A water conservation order, or hosepipe ban, can be introduced to ensure people are only using water for essential purposes. A list of activities that should not be continued while water levels are very low is located on our website.

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