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How 'Mexican Wave' helped plug city leak

A DUBLIN council launched a 'Mexican wave'-style operation to find a major leak that disrupted water supplies to hundreds of homes.

Fingal County Council resorted to intermittently switching off supplies to housing estates and businesses across Malahide and Portmarnock.

The council was forced to shut the supply to hundreds of residents across north Dublin as workers tried to find an underground leak.

"What could be a problem needs to be found quickly. The supplies in the reservoir could get low and then residents in high areas could be left with very poor pressure," a spokesperson said.

However, by last night the crews had located the burst pipe and managed to restore water supply.

The crews spent all day yesterday trying to find the source, using what the spokesperson described as "sophisticated equipment".

"The easy way of describing it is like a Mexican wave. They cut off water to small areas at a time. They cut off a couple of housing estates and then move around," the spokesperson said.


Water problems have been a feature for many Dublin households since the start of the year when the fragile network was exposed by the Big Freeze.

However, the latest incident, while not usual, is an isolated one, according to the council.

They were other incidents in the Sutton and Huntstown areas yesterday as well.

"It's not usual. Bursts happen all the time, it's just that it's underground, which makes it hard to find. It just an inconvenience for people," she said.

The council has apologised for that inconvenience and said it moved as quickly as possible to restore supplies.

Last week, another region within Fingal was also hit be water stoppages.

Parts of Swords, Oldtown and Skerries were without water for a time because of a burst water main in the Baldongan area of Skerries.

It is estimated that almost half of the city council's 2,200km of water pipelines is more than 70 years old and the age of the network is one of the main causes of leaks.