independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Cuts over but householders urged to conserve water

Resolved: problems at water treatment plant

WATER restrictions that have affected thousands of businesses and homeowners in Dublin for the past week have been lifted, and no further shut-offs are planned.

Dublin City Council said production of clean water at its Ballymore Eustace Treatment plant had increased, and more water was being stored overnight.

But the council urged people to continue to conserve water to avoid the need for further restrictions over the winter months.

City engineer Michael Phillips said that production and storage levels would continue to be monitored on an ongoing basis, and urged people to reduce consumption.

"We strongly urge consumers all over the Dublin region to help conserve water by restricting their use of water during the day as much as possible," he said.

"By making very small adjustments to some of our daily activities, we can help to significantly reduce the volume of water we use without impacting on our lifestyle. I would encourage everyone to visit www.taptips.ie, which provides easy-to-follow and valuable tips on how to conserve water."

If customers cut consumption, it would reduce the likelihood of further restrictions being imposed, he added.

The shut-offs were in place since October 30 and affected 1.5 million homeowners and thousands of businesses.

But the council warned that reduced pressure would be in place in the evenings to allow reservoirs to fill, a practice commonly put in place during the winter months.

"Storage at our treated water reservoirs is currently below the level it would normally be at this time of year," it said.

"We will be keeping reduced water pressure in place in the evenings over the coming weeks, to gain additional treated water storage. This is normal practice at this time of year.

"This will enable us to plan ahead for the high-demand Christmas season, and to cater for the difficulties that the onset of extremely cold weather at this time of year can bring."

It added that homeowners and businesses should not be impacted by the reduced pressure, and that all water users should have normal service.

WELCOMED

The lifting of restrictions was welcomed by Environment Minister Phil Hogan, who said the problem showed "just how important" it was to establish Irish Water, which will take control of the network in January.

Its establishment meant that additional investment could be made available for new treatment plants and tackling leakage rates, he said.

"Years of woeful under-investment by the previous Fianna Fail-led administration – even when the country was awash with money – has led us to this," he added. "But now with the establishment of Irish Water we can soon relegate to the past the problems caused by underinvestment."

The Dublin Chamber of Commerce urged the minister to focus on delivering a new supply for the capital, saying at least €50m should be set aside every year to upgrade the existing pipe network, with a further €500m needed to source new water.

"The growing population of the Dublin region is increasing the demand for water," chief executive Gina Quin said.

"At least €500m of investment is required for the construction of the Garrynahinch reservoir to pump water from the Shannon to the east of the country."

Irish Independent

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