Sunday 20 January 2019

Concerns over water levels as dry spell set to continue for rest of July

The current heatwave is gradually coming to an end with cloud and showers expected at times this week but it won't be enough to end the drought.

Irish Water says it will continue its hosepipe ban until the end of the month and points out that some 81 water schemes around the country are at risk of drought and water restrictions are in place in a further 27 locations.

Met Éireann says there has been little or no rain over the last 30 days, with an average soil moisture deficit of 60mm meaning even if it did rain, no water would reach our water sources for at least a week, as it will be absorbed by the ground.

Temperatures not seen since 1995 and 1975 hit the country over the past two weeks with highs of 30 degrees on some days but over the past few days these have dropped back and are likely to remain in the low teens or early 20s for week.

High pressure continues to influence the weather this week but it will gradually weaken allowing some showers to break out at times.

On Tuesday night cloud will increase from the north with showery rain affecting mainly the west and north at first and slowly pushing southeastwards.

Winds will remain light north to northeasterly. It will be mild and humid with lowest temperatures around 12 to 15 degrees.

Wednesday will start cloudy with scattered showers which will become isolated later with good sunny spells developing. Top temperatures will be around 18 to 23 degrees in light northeast to easterly breezes.

Thursday will be mostly dry with sunny spells but a few showers are still likely. Top temperatures will be in the low twenties in just light variable breezes.

Friday and Saturday there will be scattered showers with good sunny spells and perhaps somewhat more hazy sunshine on Saturday. Top temperatures will be in the low to mid twenties in light variable breezes.

Irish Water says The National Water Conservation Order was issued due to the continued drought conditions and says its top priority during the current dry period is to protect our water supply for use in homes and businesses in the coming weeks and months.

Irish Water's Corporate Affairs Manager Kate Gannon said: "The utility continues to be in touch with large commercial users who have committed to conserving water and we are very grateful to them for their efforts.

"We are also appealing to them to limit all non-essential water use and to avoid using hosepipes or power washers where possible, particularly if it is for cosmetic reasons.

"We are really grateful for the measures that people have taken to conserve water so far and we hope that the National Water Conservation Order (hosepipe ban) will continue to make people more mindful of their responsibilities and the impact their water usage is having on their neighbours and communities.

"We know that the vast majority of people are supporting the ban, though we have reports of around 40 incidents of hosepipe usage in contravention of it and we again appeal to those people to comply with these essential minimum measures to safeguard our water supplies.

"Our Drought Management team are meeting daily to assess and analyse water demand and consumption levels for every area in the country.

"As water levels continue to deplete in rivers and lakes and groundwater sources run dry, we will assess if further restrictions are required to help protect water supplies now and for the months ahead.

"Met Éireann has forecast that high temperatures will remain for the foreseeable future and this highlights the need for everyone to play their part and conserve water as much as possible, to follow our advice and tips and to comply with the Water Conservation Order in place."

Meanwhile, Aurivo, has offered its advice and assistance to farmers in the area to help them through the drought.

It says that its Farm Profitability Programme Manager and Nutritionist are both available to provide advice and counsel to farmers under pressure due to fodder challenges.

Stephen Blewitt, General Manager of Aurivo's Agri business said: "The dry weather is presenting a range of challenges to farmers across the country.

"We're advising farmers to extend the rotation period to 25 days and where grass is green and rain has fallen in the last 25 days, fertilizer should be applied. Additional feed may be required to extend rotation and to that end we have taken steps to reduce input costs.

"It goes without saying that we are urging farmers to ensure that they have sufficient water as an average herd of dairy cows will require up to 125 litres every day."

He urged farmers to contact Aurivo to discuss their individual situation.

Dr Vincent Griffith, Farm Profitability Programme Manager can be contacted at 087 7768026 and Dr Justin McDonagh, Aurivo Nutritionist can reached at 087 1483742.

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