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Jane Last: Left high and dry after dire tanker quest

They seek them here, they seek them there. My quest for a water tanker in Clonshaugh brought out the ugly side of me.

Armed with nine two-litre bottles, I gritted my teeth in frustration and groaned in despair when I arrived at two water stations, only to find no tanker in sight.

My younger brother reliably informed me he had spotted one in the Atlantic Homecare car park at Northside while walking home from school at 4pm.

Yet when I arrived just 15 minutes later, it was gone. Vanished without a trace. And the one that was supposed to be in the nearby shopping centre wasn't there either.

An automated message told me that, contrary to what I had seen with my own eyes, water tankers were there.

So I dialled the Dublin City Council helpline to ask where's the water?

And its representative told me he didn't know.

"They might have had to go for a refill," he said.

When I asked if I should wait, or if he could give me an approximate time as to when they would be back, he told me he didn't know how long it would take. He couldn't even hazard a guess.

Its website advises people that tankers will have to be refilled, and thanks householders for their patience. But there is no suggestion of how long this will take. You could be waiting hours or minutes.

When I suggested that perhaps they could update the website every few minutes or change the automated message, he told me he would take my suggestion on board.

And so I ventured to another water station, in Bonnybrook.

Close to 100 people were queuing, armed with many water containers, or bulky water bags, which have become a familiar sight in areas around Dublin. I stayed for 20 minutes before giving up on a modest tanker which didn't look like it could supply all of us.

Others were also leaving.

I went to the local supermarkets for water, but the shelves had been cleared long ago. So, I gave up -- and face weeks more like this.

COUNCIL'S DESIGNATED TANKER SITES: Artaine Castle Shopping Centre, Artane; Atlantic Homecare car park, Clonshaugh; Belcamp Avenue Shopping Centre; Greencastle Road Church; Northside shopping centre; Kyles Pub, Coolock village; Concorde Pub, Edenmore; Raheny Church, Howth Road, Raheny; Dundaniel Road, Kilmore; Cartan Estate, Poppintree; Barry House/St Canice's Church Finglas; Middle Third, Nun's Lane, Killester; Rathgar Road and Avenune; Lorcan Avenue, Santry