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Monday 19 February 2018

‘Embarrassing’: Business leaders shocked as global web summit takes place as severe water restrictions put in place

Water shortages will last until at least Monday
Water shortages will last until at least Monday

SEVERE water restrictions for 1.3 million people in Dublin met with a furious reaction today.

As homes and businesses were facing nightly shortages of up to 11 hours from 8pm tonight, our “third world supply” was branded an “embarrassment”.

Dublin City Council have admitted that they cannot say when the problems will be resolved, but they expect the shortages to last until at least Monday.

As 10,000 high tech leaders from around the world attend today's Web Summit in the city, business leaders branded the water shortage problem as an “embarrassment” and said we are “a third world country”.

The situation has arisen because of a mystery problem at the Ballymore Eustace water treatment plant where production has dropped by up to 25pc.

Some homes will have no water supply at all and parts of Kildare and Wicklow will also be affected.

The council has admitted that it still doesn't know what the problem is, and even if it was fixed the restrictions would still apply up until the weekend to replenish supplies that have already dwindled.

Severe water restrictions will be imposed across all of Dublin city and county from tonight until 7am, and these nightly restrictions are set to continue for the forseeable future until the problem is identified, sorted, and supplies replenished.

“Essentially, we still don't know what the problem is,” Dublin City Council's Alan Breen told the Herald this morning as engineer Michael Phillips travelled to

Ballymore Eustace to meet with staff.

“The water coming into the plant is not any dirtier, but the colour and turbidity (cloudiness) has changed,” Mr Breen added.

“Water production has slowed down as a result. We still have production but it is taking longer, and therefore we have to restrict supplies at night to make up for that drop in production,” he explained.

Chief executive of the Restaurant Association of Ireland, Adrian Cummins (right) said the lack of water supply would impact heavily on the restaurant and hotel trade.

“We pay the highest water charges and rates in Europe and we turn out to be a third world country without an adequate water supply,” he said.

Mr Cummins said the water restrictions will mean more hardship for the restaurant industry.

He said: “The problem is the water is being turned off at 8pm. If it was later we could provide more of a service. This has to stop. We have delegates in Ireland tonight from all over the world and we’re talking about no water in the country. It’s an embarrassment.”

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin said this morning that the current issue will not have any bearing on the roll-out of water meters at homes across Dublin and the surrounding region.

“Water metering is part of an overhaul of water supply.

“For too long, we have had a very disparate water supply system in this country with every local authority being responsible for their own affairs.

“We have now one national authority, I hope providing a world class service to everybody in the country. That has to be paid for.

“Water is an essential part in attracting industry of any kind into the country,” Mr Howlin said.

Dublin City Council engineer Michael Phillips said a lot of people will have no water between 8pm to 7am for the next five days.

Mr Phillips said the councils were hoping the restrictions could be lifted after Monday but he warned that disruption to supply “could go on longer”.

Mr Phillips said there was “absolutely no danger” in the quality of the water product at the plant, which he stressed met the standards required by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“What we have to work out now is what we have to do to the (incoming) water to bring it within EPA requirements, or see if the water supply into the plant returns to more normal quality,” he explained.

Conor Feehan

Press Association

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