2 July 2018 Go back to News
Public asked to take sustained action to conserve water as drought conditions are increasingly reducing capacity in rivers and lakes
Please report any leaks you see on the public water network
Irish Water is continuing to ask the public to take sustained action to conserve water as weather conditions remain warm and the drought is increasingly reducing capacity in rivers, lakes and boreholes, while our production plants struggle to meet increasing demand.
As well as reducing consumption, we are appealing to the public to report leaks on the public water network online via our Report a Leak form or on 1850 278 278 and to repair private side leaks in both homes and in businesses.
Please conserve water where possible
The public are asked to change their mindset on water usage and to conserve water now and for the months ahead, as it will take many weeks and even months for raw water levels to restore in rivers, lakes, boreholes and for treated water levels to restore in our storage reservoirs.
Demand on water supplies remains high
As the warm weather continues, the demand on water supplies remains high while available water resources are diminishing. Irish Water is appealing to the public to conserve water as much as possible and to avoid unnecessary use of water. The weather has been dry since late February this year with Met Éireann reporting that the level of rain that as fallen is on par with 1976 when a major drought was in place. It is likely that the measures we are taking will be in place for weeks if not months.
We are working with local authorities to do everything possible to conserve water availability, examining how we can make further inroads into leakage by mobilising extra crews and seeking maximum public cooperation in saving water. We now have 39 water supplies under night-time water restrictions and over 130 water supplies at risk due to high consumption. We are tankering water from larger schemes to top up reservoirs where levels are falling and trying to protect borderline supplies so as to protect water supply to homes and businesses. This work becomes more challenging as the drought impacts spread nationally and the reserves of water fall across the country.
Improvements seen in Greater Dublin region
Weekend demand data suggests that there was some reduction down to 575 mega litres in the Greater Dublin region over the weekend as the ‘hosepipe ban’ was announced, however we know that usage drops at weekends as many people leave the area. We will monitor usage early this week as people return to homes and businesses. We appreciate the cooperation and efforts made by households and businesses who are supporting our appeal for conservation as much as possible.
Water Conservation Orders
The Water Conservation Order for the Greater Dublin Area is in place until the 31st of July but Irish Water will keep the situation under review and may have to extend the period of time the Order is in place. It is likely that similar orders will be brought in over the coming weeks on other schemes.
The prohibited use will apply to the use of water drawn through a hosepipe or similar for the purpose of:
- watering a garden with a hose or sprinkler
- cleaning a private motor-vehicle using a domestic hosepipe
- cleaning a private leisure boat using a hosepipe
- 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) using a hosepipe
- filling or maintaining an ornamental fountain (with the exception of such use for commercial purposes)
- use of water for filling or replenishing an artificial pond (excluding fish ponds), lake or similar application.
Similar drought orders introduced in Northern Ireland and in Britain
The primary purpose of these orders is to mobilise maximum public support and engagement on minimising water use during the crisis. Similar drought orders have been introduced in Northern Ireland and in British water utilities and operate by mobilising public support for responsible behaviour. Irish Water is backing up these Orders by increasing the number of Call Centre agents to take calls from the public and we will follow up such reports to encourage water conservation measures and to offer technical support, for example advice or support on how to repair leaks. We believe that this approach will deliver the best outcomes in terms of saving water.
Drought orders provide certain powers of enforcement which will be used to address continuing and excessive wastage of water during the crisis. We expect the vast majority of people will adhere to the Water Conservation Order and that there will be very few prosecutions while the order is in force. Our domestic and non-domestic meters are identifying private side leaks and we are working with householders to address these leaks in properties and offering assistance to get them repaired. Regulatory powers are available to address chronic leaks where owners do not engage with us and do not respond to multiple notifications.
Concern is for longer term supplies in late summer and autumn
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, Irish Water’s Corporate Affairs Manager, Kate Gannon said “We thank the public for their water conservation efforts to date. Today is the first day of the hose pipe ban in the Greater Dublin Area and we ask everyone to play their part in the areas included in the ban and across the country to conserve water as much as possible over the weeks and months. We need customers to change their mind set on their water usage and to conserve water now and in the weeks and months ahead.
All savings made now will help prevent further restrictions late
It will take a period of sustained rainfall for raw water in rivers, lakes and boreholes across the country to restore. Due to the high demand in water usage nationally it will also take time for treated drinking water in our storage reservoirs to restore. All savings made now will help to reduce the likelihood of further restrictions for the remainder of the summer and into the autumn.
We have a serious challenge to ensure we can deliver clean safe drinking water for everyone, given the current state of our network and the impact that sustained warm weather has had on water supplies both nationally and in the Greater Dublin Area. We thank everyone who has already taken action and we need a collective effort from the public to conserve water, and that behaviours change into the future as the threat to supplies remain beyond the current hot spell. We urge customers to conserve water and to work with us by following our tips such as taking short showers instead of baths, turning taps off when brushing teeth and not using hosepipes in gardens and limiting use of water in paddling pools. We are asking the public to continue to conserve water in the months ahead and to follow our advice for longer term water conservation’’
Maximising water availability though pressure management and leak repairs
”Local authority crews supported by contractor resources are working to maximise water availability, though managing pressures to the minimum which avoids loss of supply and repair leaks on the public network. This work will continue and intensify in the months ahead and we are using all available tools to monitor our water supplies to conserve water.”
When the current hot weather ends we will still need customers to be mindful of their water usage for the months ahead to protect the available water for the remainder of the summer and into the autumn. Wider water restrictions may become unavoidable if the demand does not drop towards normal levels. Every effort someone makes in their home or business impacts their neighbour and community and we are asking everyone to collectively take responsibility for their water usage to benefit their whole community."
For advice on conserving water in the home, garden, farms and at work, please visit our Water Conservation page.
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