Shortage of drinking water as pipes burst
Published 09/12/2010 | 05:00
WATER supplies will be severely restricted as the thaw sets in, possibly causing pipes to burst.
Local authorities are reducing pressure and cutting off supply to tens of thousands of homes. It is a desperate attempt to conserve water because supplies are on a knife-edge.
Dublin City Council last night warned there had been an increase in demand of up to 20 million litres a day over the past week, and that the situation was unsustainable.
Water is being wasted by householders leaving taps running but people were responding to appeals to save it, city engineer Michael Phillips said.
The shortage of drinking water is now acute countrywide and around 1.5 million people in Dublin face a drop in water pressure every night to help reservoirs replenish.
Some areas, however, will lose supply, particularly those on higher ground. The situation is critical in Cork, Galway, Limerick and Donegal.
Demand for water in the capital has increased to 575 million litres a day. The treatment plants can only produce 560 million litres.
Untreated water for the capital is stored at Poulaphouca, Roundwood, Bohernabreena and Leixlip before being sent for treatment at four plants.
It is then delivered to consumers via a network of water mains and to a series of treated water reservoirs.
Local authorities fear that the thaw expected over the coming days will result in water pipes rupturing, causing major losses of supply.