Monday 24 July 2017

'Exceptionally dry' April leads to water warnings

Sadie Macken and her aunt, Ciara Delaney at Sandycove yesterday Picture: Colin Keegan
Sadie Macken and her aunt, Ciara Delaney at Sandycove yesterday Picture: Colin Keegan
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

Some 27,000 households have been urged to conserve water in parts of Donegal, north Galway and Westmeath due to a lack of rainfall over recent months.

Irish Water has urged households and businesses to reduce consumption where possible because rainfall levels are way below monthly averages.

Met Éireann has said April was "exceptionally dry", and while March was wet, rainfall was below average in February and January. Last autumn was also below average.

Some of the towns affected by shortages include Mullingar and Moate, Co Westmeath, Ramelton, Co Donegal, and Mountbellew, Co Galway.

In all, more than 3,000 households are affected in Galway, 3,700 in Donegal and more than 20,000 in Co Westmeath.

Businesses, including the hospitality trade, are also being urged to reduce consumption.

The warnings to conserve water come due to a lack of rainfall, which has also impacted on water levels in reservoirs.

Irish Water said any period of prolonged dry weather could potentially impact on the volumes of raw water sourced from lakes, rivers and boreholes available for treatment. It added that reservoir levels were being closely monitored.

"Overall, the current supply situation is sustainable but Irish Water and the local authorities are continuing to monitor and manage the situation on a daily basis," the utility said.

"Consumers have been advised in small pockets, including parts of Donegal, north Galway and Westmeath, to conserve water. Production can be increased in non-affected areas where capacity allows to safeguard storage levels in the affected reservoirs.

"If water levels at a source are dropping and there is a concern about the ability of that plant to provide sufficient treated water, Irish Water with the local authority will look into options for the at-risk water supply."

Among the areas affected include the Aran Islands, where water is at a "historically low" level for this time of year. Night-time restrictions affecting around 250 people on Inis Oirr have been in place since Monday.

The company is planning to build two new water storage tanks on Inis Oirr, and tenders are currently being evaluated.

Also in Co Galway, households in Williamstown, Mountbellew and Glenamaddy are affected, but no restrictions are in place.

In Co Donegal, where April has been the driest in 67 years, consumers connected to the Lough Colm and Lough Fad source are affected. Towns include Milford and Ramelton, Quigley's Point and Redcastle.

In Co Westmeath, low water levels in Lough Owel are leading to potential shortages in Mullingar, Kinnegad, Rochfortbridge, Tyrrellspass, Kilbeggan, and Moate.

Irish Independent

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