What causes water shortages

A short spell of dry weather does not cause water shortages or drought. We need regular rainfall throughout the year, especially during winter, to build up our water supplies. However, water shortages are also caused by leaks, old pipes, increased demand, growing population and poor infrastructure.

2018 saw long dry spells, which Met Éireann compared to 1976 when similar drought conditions were experienced across the country. The prolonged hot weather during the summer caused a huge increase in water usage across the country. As demand for water rose to critical levels, our supplies were put under severe stress as we were using more water than we could produce. It was, therefore, necessary to introduce restrictions in order to protect our homes and businesses from outages later on.

How we conserve water and protect supply

During shortages and periods of drought, our Drought Management Team meet daily to assess and monitor demand on water supplies nationwide and determine the necessary measures to protect the supply for the months ahead. We work hard to ensure you have continued water supply through the following ways.

Managing and repairing the network

During shortages we change how we pump our water around the network. This is so customers on higher ground and on the edges of our networks do not suffer reduced service.

Reconfiguring the network

On larger supplies, we can change the water flows through our pipes to make sure people continue to have a water supply.

Tanker water to drought areas

If a supply is so low that we cannot keep producing water, we bring treated water from another area that is less at risk.

Increase leak detection and repair crews

We also increase leak detection and repair crews in affected areas during a water restriction period to provide emergency support over and above our normal operational crews. These leaks can be in the public water infrastructure or in private homes and businesses. 

National Leakage Reduction Programme

Through our national Leakage Reduction Programme, we are reducing the amount of treated water lost through leakage across the country. For more information, visit our Leakage Reduction Programme page. 

Water Conservation Order

In unique circumstances, a water conservation order, or hosepipe ban, is introduced but only if absolutely necessary. This is to ensure people are  using water for essential purposes only. 

Private properties

During water shortages, we encourage home and business owners to check and fix leaks on their properties. If you are a home owner and think you may have a leak on your property, you may qualify for a free leak investigation and repair via our First Fix Free Scheme.

Greater Dublin Area Daily Water Usage

The graph below represents the amount of water used daily in the Greater Dublin Area. This includes the population of County Dublin, and parts of Counties Wicklow, Kildare and Meath. This area is supplied by seven water treatment plants: Ballymore Eustace, Leixlip, Vartry, Ballyboden, Bog of the Ring, Srowland, Monasterevin, and Rathangan. The current safe and sustainable limit that we can treat in these water treatment plants is 610 million litres per day.

DateDaily water usage
10-11-2018564.5
11-11-2018565.4
12-11-2018567.3
13-11-2018566.7
14-11-2018567.7
15-11-2018568.3
16-11-2018567.9
17-11-2018567.1
18-11-2018566.6
19-11-2018566.4
20-11-2018565.6
21-11-2018564.7
22-11-2018565.4
23-11-2018565.9
24-11-2018566.1
25-11-2018566.3
26-11-2018569.0
27-11-2018570.2
28-11-2018573.0
29-11-2018573.4
30-11-2018575.0
01-12-2018575.9
02-12-2018576.3
03-12-2018575.0
04-12-2018575.8
05-12-2018575.8
06-12-2018569.4
07-12-2018568.3
08-12-2018568.4
09-12-2018568.2

Vulnerable or concerned customers

It is our policy to identify and prioritise vulnerable home and business users. If you are critically dependant on water for medical needs and have not registered with us as a priority customer, register online via our vulnerable customer registration form or call us on 1850 448 448. An alternative water supply arrangement will be made for you, if required. 

Register now

Greater Dublin Area Water Restriction Management Scale

There are times when it is necessary to introduce restrictions within the Greater Dublin Area. This chart outlines what customers can expect from different levels of water restriction.

Active management level Day time impact Night time impact General customers experience Multi-storey customers experience
0 None. None. No restrictions. No restrictions.
1 None. Midnight — 05:00
Lower pressure, average flow to 2-storey.
Sufficient to fill attic tanks quickly in day-time and slowly at night-time. Sufficient to supply building pumps at high-rate in day-time and low-rate at night-time.
2 None 22:00 — 05:00
Lower pressure, average flow to ground floor.
No Loss of Supply.
Some customers on high ground and at remote end of networks will experience lower night-time pressure.
Some customers on high ground and at remote end of networks may experience low night-time pressures depending on their building pumping and storage system.
3 None 22:00 — 05:00
Lower pressure, minimal flow to ground floor.
No Loss of Supply.
Most customers will experience low night-time pressures.
Supply to some customers on high ground and at remote end of networks may reduce to trickle at kitchen sink during those periods.
Customers may experience low night-time pressures depending on their building pumping and storage system.
3 None 21:00 — 07:00
Lower pressure, minimal flow to ground floor.
No Loss of Supply.
Most customers will experience low night-time pressures.
Supply to some customers on high ground and at remote end of networks may reduce to trickle at kitchen sink during those periods.
Customers may experience low night-time pressures depending on their building pumping and storage system.
4 10:00 — 16:00
Lower pressure, average flow to ground floor.
21:00 — 07:00
Lower pressure, minimal flow to ground floor.
Most customers will experience low pressures during day and night pressure reductions.
Supply to some customers on high ground and at remote end of networks may reduce to trickle at kitchen sink during those periods.
Customers may experience low night-time pressures depending on their building pumping and storage system.
5 10:00 — 16:00
Lower pressure, average flow to ground floor.
21:00 — 07:00
Restricted & shuts on rotational basis.
Most customers will experience low pressures during day-time, but no loss of supplies.
Supply to some customers on high ground and at remote end of networks may reduce to trickle at kitchen sink during those periods.
Most customers will experience full loss of supply during night-time shuts in their area.
Customers may experience low night-time and day-time pressures depending on their building pumping and storage system.
Technical description
No Restrictions.
Distribution network pressures maintained to accommodate peak flows over 24-hour period.
No Day-time Restrictions.Night-time distribution network pressures reduced to minimal practical for average flow service capability to 2-storey house. No Day-time Restrictions.Night-time distribution network pressures reduced to minimal practical for average flow service capability to ground-floor only. No Day-time Restrictions.Night-time distribution network pressures reduced to minimal practical for minimum flow service capability to ground-floor only. No Day-time Restrictions.Night-time distribution network pressures reduced to minimal practical for minimum flow service capability to ground-floor only. Day-time distribution network pressures reduced to minimal practical for average flow service capability to ground-floor only.Night-time distribution network pressures reduced to minimal practical for minimum flow service capability to ground-floor only. Day-time distribution network pressures reduced to minimal practical for average flow service capability to ground-floor only.Night-time distribution network pressure restrictions and shuts on a rotational basis.
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