Families prepare for water shortages

Cormac Murphy

DUBLINERS were bracing themselves for further water restrictions as the big freeze gave way to the big thaw.

Dublin City Council said today that it's expecting damage to its water mains over the coming days as temperatures rise.

The council said the water supply situation was on a knife-edge, despite rationing of supplies earlier this month.

"Due to a combination of factors which have resulted from the freezing temperatures, including an increased rate of breaks on water mains and supply pipes, the water supply situation is still very finely balanced between supply and demand," the council said.


The thaw may cause the rate of water mains breaks to increase, resulting "in higher demand" and "further localised disruption to consumers".

The city's top engineers were expected to meet later today to decide whether to introduce immediate restrictions or hold off for a day or two.

"There has been a rapid thaw over the last 24 hours and we anticipate that will cause damage to the water mains," a council spokesman told the Herald.

"However, it is impossible to predict the extent or the location of the damage. We'll just have to see. We are asking people to conserve water," the spokesman added.

The council said it brought forward the expert review to today "because of the likely impact of the thaw".

There were no water cut-offs in the city between December 23 and 27, though some pressure reductions were imposed.


However, water system control valves at Fairview froze shut on the night of Christmas Eve, leaving some areas in the north east of the city without water.

A maintenance crew went to the scene on Christmas Day to solve the problem, and the council said it regretted the inconvenience caused.

Cork County Council said it was experiencing record high flows from all reservoirs due to a large number of burst pipes.

Parts of Cork city, mainly on the northside, were without water until at least 8am today.

There were reductions in pressure in the south of the city.

Sligo County Council appealed to householders and businesses to limit water usage.