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Thursday 23 May 2019

People running taps to prevent pipes freezing leads to water rationing threat

Irish Water says it can re-issue refund cheques to a “nominated person of the account holder” for anyone who does not have a bank (Stock photo)
Irish Water says it can re-issue refund cheques to a “nominated person of the account holder” for anyone who does not have a bank (Stock photo)
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

The country is facing a week of water rationing due to depleted reservoir levels caused by households running taps to prevent pipes from freezing.

Leaks and burst pipes at water plants around the country have also prompted serious concerns about water supplies for the coming days. Irish Water dispatched teams to fix leaks and mechanical failures at major reservoirs impacted by the freezing weather.

Yesterday, more than 10,000 homes across the country had their water cut off completely and 66,000 had a restricted service.

Irish Water warned there would be even more restrictions in the coming days if people did not conserve water.

The State utility company said the combination of leaks and increased demand from people running taps continuously meant restrictions would be needed this week.

"Irish Water is appealing to customers all across the country to conserve water," a spokesperson said.

"Increasing demand, coupled with weather- related bursts and leaks, has resulted in our water treatment plants running at capacity, which could lead to water restrictions in the coming week.

"Irish Water is especially appealing to anyone with an outside tap to ensure that it is securely turned off. A constant flow from an external tap over 24 hours is the equivalent of the usage of 40 households in the same period.

"As weather conditions improve, our crews have been mobilised where it is safe to do so to make the necessary repairs at plants and to fix bursts."

Head of operations Catherine Walsh said the high demand was in part caused by people running taps to stop pipes freezing.

Those on restricted supply in Donegal included 44,000 people across four drinking water schemes - Gortahork-Falcarragh, Lough Mourne, Rosses and Creeslough.

In Galway, almost 6,000 people were affected by leaks at the Carraore and Tullycross plants. In Leitrim, 16,500 people on the South Leitrim rural water supply were hit by restrictions.

Meanwhile, 3,000 people were on storm-related boil water notices. A plant failure led to an immediate boil water notice in Aughrim, Co Wicklow, which affected 1,900 people.

Irish Water warned that services were running at capacity in Dublin, Louth, Meath and the Midlands, and asked that people living in these areas conserved as much water as possible.

Households in Cork city were issued with a specific water restriction warning owing to high levels of demand in the South.

"High demands have led to rundown of reservoirs which is creating the risk of restrictions. Customers in Cork city and county are particularly asked to conserve water at this time," a spokesperson said.

A power outage at the Staleen water treatment plant in Louth resulted in people's water being cut off during the snowstorm.

"During the outage water was diverted to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and the reservoir needed to replenish, affecting customers on the edge of the network," a spokesperson said.

More than 30,000 people were without electricity at the peak of Storm Emma and the Beast of the East. The ESB had restored power to almost 10,000 affected homes by yesterday afternoon.

Sunday Independent

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