Fears burst pipes will lead to water shortages
HOUSEHOLDERS have been warned to expect drinking water shortages over the coming days as the thaw sets in.
Despite water mains being buried up to one metre deep, the ground shifts as it thaws, which can cause the pipes to rupture, Dublin city engineer Michael Phillips said yesterday.
More than a dozen local authorities have issued pleas to the public to conserve water as reservoir stocks run low because of unprecedented demand.
A spate of burst pipes has added to the problem, with Dublin City Council engineering staff fixing 11 mains over the weekend.
"We will get a large number of leaks," Mr Phillips warned.
"There will be reductions in pressure, and we need people to be a lot more aware and to use water sparingly. Under the circumstances, taps should not be allowed to run because it's irresponsible, wastes water and should not happen."
During the big freeze last January, demand for water rose by 25pc in Dublin. On one day, a new record of 624 million litres was used.
Water was cut off in counties including Carlow, Kilkenny, Limerick, Wexford, Tipperary, Cork, Sligo and Donegal because of problems. Businesses were forced to close, while food processors Batchelors ran out of water.
Householders face two problems in relation to water supply -- reservoirs are running low because of record demand, while mains are rupturing as a partial thaw sets in.
Homes in Galway were without water yesterday because of high demand from the Clifton Hill reservoir, and water service crews have worked for days to restore pressure and fix leaks.
Consumption rates in Kerry were up 20pc in the past week, and the council said that people running water to stop their pipes freezing was putting huge pressure on the supply.
The situation is critical in west Cork where demand is exceeding capacity.
Water is being shut off in parts of Bantry, Ballylickey, Snave, Gurteen, Rooska and Gortacloona from 10pm to 8am. In Donegal, supply is being restricted to areas served by the Lough Mourne and Rosses regional supplies, while parts of south Dublin were cut off yesterday.
Monkstown, Foxrock and parts of Goatstown were without water after mains ruptured.
Limerick County Council has also warned it may have to introduce rationing at night time.