DUBLIN residents have been warned their water supply will be rationed for 12 hours again tonight after water levels hit crisis point.
Meanwhile, it emerged Dublin City Council paid consulting engineers an average of almost €1,400 daily over a four-year period to produce a report for the Greater Dublin Water Supply Study.
The council has extended restrictions on water usage between 7pm and 7am for the second night in a row due to leaks and problems at a treatment plant.
Water rationing was extended for the first time last night after being initially restricted between 10pm and 7am since Thursday. The council said it still did not have enough treated water in storage despite imposing the curbs last week.
It will reassess the situation tomorrow morning.
Householders across the city are being asked to restrict their water use as much as possible, while the council is reducing water pressure to conserve supplies.
It has urged customers to take the following water-saving tips on board:
• Do not delay in the shower. Ten minutes in a power-shower uses 250 litres of water, two-and-a-half times more than a bath.
• Do not let the tap run while brushing your teeth. Turning it off for two minutes will save 12 litres of water.
• Keep a jug of water in the fridge instead of running the tap every time you need a drink.
• Only turn the dishwasher and washing machine on when there is a full load.
• Minimise the number of times toilets are flushed.
The council said it conducted an analysis of water levels at the Stillorgan Reservoir after the first three days of water restrictions.
However, it had only managed to add another 10 megalitres of water on Saturday night.
"Despite the current restrictions and with some additional capacity gained as a result, water levels still remain below normal and sustainable levels," it said.
It said algae had formed at a water treatment plant in Roundwood, Co Wicklow.
In addition, demand on water supplies was higher than average due to the cold snap, which had caused more leaks than usual.
"We apologise for the inconvenience caused and will do everything possible to minimise the scale and duration of the restrictions," said a spokesman.
He said the council would continue to monitor storage levels but would try to maintain pressure during peak demand periods as far as possible.
However, pressure will be reduced at other times, which could lead to a loss of supply in some areas.
Meanwhile, it emerged the city council paid almost €10,000 a week, or €2m in total, to RPS Consulting Engineers who produced a strategic environment assessment report on water supply. It looked at Dublin City Council's proposed extraction of an estimated 500 million litres daily from Lough Derg in 2020.
Shannon Protection Alliance chairman Gerry Siney claimed that the expenditure on the entire project was a "waste of money".
However, the council said it considered the costs as "good value for money".
Jean Hobbs, of RPS, said the consulting engineers were appointed following a public procurement process.
"The company does not comment on any aspect of our contractual arrangements. RPS Group asserts our good name and reputation and that of our staff," she added.