Severe water restrictions across Dublin and surrounding areas could last more than a week, a Dublin city council engineer warned.
Homes and businesses will experience lower water pressure and a loss of supply from 8pm tonight until 7am tomorrow morning. This will continue throughout the week.
The colour and torpidity of the water for the Dublin supply has changed, Dublin City Council engineer Michael Phillips told RTE Radio's Morning Ireland today.
Dublin City Council is working around the clock to try and solve a problem at the main water treatment plant, but restrictions will continue into the weekend, he said.
"We have a difficulty getting particles out of the water that we do [usually] remove from the water," he said.
Restrictions will be in place in the areas of the four Dublin councils and parts of Wicklow and Kildare.
"People can expect very severe water restrictions. A lot of people will have no water from 8pm to 7am," Mr Phillips said.
"The incoming water, the characteristics have changed over the last number of weeks... the situation deteriorated last weekend."
He reassured householders and businesses that the water is safe, but he added that there is not enough to go around.
"The quality of the water is the same as what is required by the EPA, but we just don't have enough of it."
People are asked to conserve water through minimum use of washing machines and dishwashers, and to take shorter showers, and they're asked not to leave the tap running while brushing their teeth.
"We're trying to correct the problem in the plant," Mr Phillips said.
He said he "sympathised" with pubs and restaurants, many of whom experience their busiest times in the evenings.
"Our greatest saving on water is between 8pm and midnight... we've got to stabilise the loss of treated water from our reservoirs."
He warned that the restrictions will be "far more severe" than last March, when water supply was cut during the night to replenish supply.
Mr Cummins said there are 9,000 international delegates in Dublin city tonight, and “it’s an embarrassment” that they will see water restrictions in place.
“It’s more hardship for the restaurant industry. This [water restrictions] is four years now going on with Dublin City Council.”
He urged the council not to enforce the restrictions until 9pm every night, to give businesses an extra hour to serve their customers.
“The problem is that the water is being turned off at 8pm at night.”
He said the restrictions every few months “have to stop”, especially since householders and businesses will be paying water charges next year.
He urged the council and its engineers to decide no a Plan B so that restrictions should never have to happen.
Meanwhile, affected householders are voicing their concerns on social media.
One man said: “They can’t provide a safe, clean water supply, and next year they want us to pay for it?? Not a hope!!”
By Geraldine Gittens