Widespread restrictions 'inevitable' unless water demand falls
Water supply remains on a knife-edge although consumption has dropped across the Greater Dublin Area since the introduction of a hosepipe ban.
Irish Water said average daily demand for water nationally has increased from 1.65 billion litres earlier this year to 1.9 billion over recent weeks, and warned large-scale restrictions and outages were "inevitable" unless demand falls.
Across the GDA, which includes most of Wicklow and Kildare and some of Meath, some 610 million litres a day is produced. At the height of demand, this rose to 615 million litres, but it has since fallen to 572 million litres since the water conservation order, or hosepipe ban, was introduced last Monday week.
The utility said it was analysing the effect the extension of the ban nationally was having, but that no figures were currently available.
Restrictions are currently in place across 31 schemes to reduce demand and allow sources and reservoirs recover. Seven schemes are affected in Galway, including the Aran Islands and some of Connemara; five restrictions are in place in Carlow, four in Limerick, three in Kerry, two each in Laois and Waterford and one each in Clare, Cork, Kilkenny, Longford, Offaly, Tipperary, Westmeath and Wexford. Pressure has been reduced to the lowest level possible across the GDA without affecting supply.
"Irish Water is continuing to appeal to businesses, homes and farms to conserve water in order to avoid further restrictions in affected areas or potential outages in other areas," it said.
Sources said additional restrictions could be imposed to ensure water kept flowing to homes and businesses later in the summer.
There is concern there may be shortages from September unless there is sustained rainfall to cater for the return of schools and colleges, but no decision has yet been made.