| 2.2°C Dublin

Families left without tap water now face floods

The snow in the capital is thawing at last but Dublin households have been warned that the fallout from the bad weather is set to continue.

Three of Dublin's local authorities have warned householders that water supplies are at critically low levels.

Dublin City Council last night heard that leaks and burst pipes will cause major problems for city householders over the next few months as a result of the cold snap.

They were also warned of water cut-offs and that reduction in water pressure likely to continue.

The council's water supply is severely depleted because of the excessive use of water during the snow crisis.

Councillors attending a meeting of Fingal County Council yesterday evening were told that householders used a record high 628 million litres of water on Sunday.

Fingal County Council officials will be deploying water tankers across the county, as many residents, particularly those in high-lying areas, are left without water.

Residents are being asked to turn off taps, with officials stressing that running water will not prevent pipes from freezing.

Fingal County Council said it took thousands of calls from householders yesterday, particularly from residents in the Dublin 15 area, who were without water.

It was a similar story in the South Dublin County Council (SDCC) area, where demand for water during the Big Freeze exceeded supply in some parts.

At their meeting last night, elected representatives heard how water pressure is being reduced in order to prevent widespread water shortages.

SDCC said the demand for water exceeded its supply by 15pc. Water supplies in parts of Tallaght, Clondalkin, Templeogue and Rathfarnham, were disrupted.

Philomena Poole, SDCC's deputy manager, said: "It is imperative that people conserve water. As it is, there are a number of areas throughout the county that are without water. We've had to reduce pressure, because otherwise other areas will have no water at all coming out of their tap.

"Taps were left running over the last week, and now it's essential that water is conserved. It's the demand that's causing the problem, and it's important to ensure that people make no attempt to store up water while the pressure is being reduced."

Meanwhile, flood prevention measures will be put in place across the county as the ice starts to thaw, in case a risk of flooding arises.

Ms Poole stressed: "We are now moving into a different phase and that is to start managing the thaw.It's essential that gulleys are kept clear. The level of grit used during the last week might have a knock-on effect and we need to get the grit out of the way."

The situation is expected to be similar in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council.

Their monthly meeting is taking place tomorrow.

At a meeting of Dublin City Council last night, management confirmed that it might call on the army to get water supplies to affected areas.