Friday 16 November 2018

Hosepipe ban could be extended as Irish Water meets to discuss possibility of further restrictions

Little gardener: Kid watering flowers in the garden
Little gardener: Kid watering flowers in the garden
There are already fears winter water reserves are at risk. Stock photo: PA

Ryan Nugent

Irish Water expect the nationwide hosepipe ban to improve water conservation, but it will take a number of days to gauge any difference it may have made.

The total ban came into effect on Friday morning and is currently due to be in place until the end of July.

However, this could be extended depending on rainfall over the next three weeks.

The utility is having drought management meetings every morning over the course of the heatwave, which has caused massive water shortages.

Katie Doherty and Eleanor Quaine from Longford enjoy the summer weather and the atmosphere at Groove Festival at Killruddery House, Bray. Photo: Tony Gavin
Katie Doherty and Eleanor Quaine from Longford enjoy the summer weather and the atmosphere at Groove Festival at Killruddery House, Bray. Photo: Tony Gavin

A high-level meeting of senior management will take place this morning to discuss if further restrictions are required with more updates expected this afternoon.

Irish Water said it is looking at the issue on a day-to-day basis with demand at a critical level.

The hosepipe ban came into effect in Dublin early last week, with Irish Water noticing a conservation improvement following its introduction.

While there is still a risk of demand rising in certain rural areas, it is hopeful there will be better conservation across the country.

Irish Water will wait to see patterns in water usage across a couple of weekdays before it can gauge if there has been a drop nationwide.

Despite many adhering to the ban, the utility received around 40 reports of people not complying with it as of Friday.

However, no new figures were put together over the weekend.

Irish Water is understood to be following up on each of these by imposing a penalty - a €125 fine or prosecution.

Penalties are only expected to be enforced on those who consistently fail to comply with the ban.

A spokesperson for Irish Water said the public is aware this is an issue that needs to be taken seriously.

Across the country, there are already a number of water restrictions in place with some counties worse off than others.

In Athlone, Co Westmeath, a struggle to meet water demands is affecting up to 8,000 people on the east side of the town and restrictions are in place overnight.

Restrictions are also set to be put in place in Portlaoise, affecting around 5,000 people.

Overnight water supply has also dropped in Galway city due to high demand.

There has also been a 15pc-20pc increase in demand in the southern part of the country, with 27 water schemes affected.

There are already fears winter water reserves will be at risk of depletion nationwide due to the prolonged drought being experienced.

Autumn reserves have already been significantly eaten into in recent weeks.

Irish Independent

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