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Saturday 16 December 2017

Most homes get water back but leaks still a problem

Paul Melia and  Ralph Riegel

HOUSEHOLD water supplies are slowly returning to normal but restrictions will remain in place in Dublin until at least next week.

The Department of the Environment said yesterday supplies had "stabilised" in most parts of the country, but that a large number of leaks were being found on private property.

Some of the largest leaks found in Dublin over the past week were in underground office car parks which were unused over the festive season, a spokesman said, adding properties should be checked.

"The situation has stabilised -- it's down to a small number of local pockets with private breaks as opposed to quantity of supply issues," he added.

"We are urging people to check their properties, second properties and businesses they haven't been in over the Christmas period because there's significant evidence that a large number of the leaks are in private property."

While supplies have returned to homeowners in most counties, restrictions will remain in place in Dublin until next week.

Dublin City Council saved 36 million litres of water on Sunday, which was pumped into Stillorgan Reservoir, but it needs about two days' supply -- or 1,000 million litres -- before the crisis is considered over.

Spokesman Michael Sands said: "It will be judged on a day-by-day basis. Sunday was great as we got 36 million litres in but we need about two days' supply in Stillorgan reservoir.

"We have a gap in that schools aren't back until next Monday. The big leaks are easy to find because you can see it on the street. There continues to be issues in private properties."

Demand for water on Sunday was 507 million litres, while 543 million litres was produced.

Dublin City Council has begun to stagger water shut-downs so that the worst-affected areas will only experience disruption every second night.

Pressure reductions and cut-offs will be imposed tonight and tomorrow night from 7pm to 7am. Similar rolling restrictions will be in place over the coming two nights for residents in Fingal County Council.

South Dublin County Council is due to cut off water supply to all of its customers from 7pm tonight until 7am tomorrow.

In south Dublin, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council has warned residents that they will face overnight shut-downs or pressure losses for a number of nights yet.

And while there has been some improvement in water supplies, Cork County Council admitted that reservoir levels in parts of north and west Cork remain "critical".

Reservoirs are at their lowest level ever recorded for December-January and consumers have been warned that if they don't reduce water usage severe restrictions will be imposed.

Irish Independent

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