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Dublin: 19 °C Wednesday 22 August, 2018
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'We're over 36 hours without water' - Irish Water slammed locally for response to supply crisis in north-east

The water crisis, which began on Friday afternoon, is now unlikely to be solved before Monday evening at the earliest.

shutterstock_593259782 Source: Shutterstock/Somphot Klomkamin

Updated 14.45

IRISH WATER HAS warned that water conservation measures affecting much of the north east of the country are likely to be in place until this evening at the earliest, and said that works to mend the burst main responsible for the problem have “proven to be more difficult than first anticipated”.

The problem stems from a large burst main at Staleen water treatment plant, close to Drogheda, Co Louth, which first ruptured on Friday afternoon.

The main in question is placed at least four metres below ground, and is proving particularly troublesome to fix.

“Irish Water working with Louth County Council are continuing to implement our water contingency plans as water repairs proves to be challenging due to the age and type of pipe,” the company said in its latest update.

A bespoke engineering solution is being attempted to address the complexity of the burst and it is estimated that the supply would be restored at the earliest by Monday evening.

The utility’s response to the crisis has now been sharply criticised by local Fianna Fáil PRO Anthony Moore, who has described its response as “cack-handed”.

“Irish Water says its crews were out working on the main till midnight on Friday and resumed work at 8am on Saturday morning,” Moore told TheJournal.ie.

Given that 80,000 people depend on them for their water supply, it beggars belief that they were not working round the clock to fix the problem. This would not happen in Dublin or any other city and it shouldn’t happen here.

To add to the issues in the town, most local outlets have now sold out of bottled water.

“Irish Water’s cack-handed communications have made matters worse for all of us affected by this,” said Moore.

shop Shop Street, Drogheda Source: Google Maps

“First, they told us on Friday that repairs would be completed by noon on Saturday. That deadline came and went and they said the work would be finished by 6pm yesterday.  Then the estimated time was pushed out to 2pm Sunday.

This is a completely unacceptable way for (Irish Water) to treat Drogheda and its environs, one of the largest urban areas in Ireland where 80,000 people live. We have now been without water for over 36 hours. If Irish Water had provided more accurate information early on about how long the repairs were going to take, people could have collected their water at the supply points earlier in the day.

As all local reservoir supplies have now been exhausted, rationing measures are now in place.

Repairs to fix the main resumed from first light this morning and are ongoing.

Supply to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda is “the priority” according to Irish Water – “we are ensuring security of supply remains in place” to the hospital, the utility said in a statement.

Rationing remains in place therefore for the remainder of Drogheda town.

Other areas affected include  Rosehall, Roughgrange, Clogherhead, Termonfeckin in Co Louth, and Ashbourne, Ratoath, Curraha, Duleek, Lagavoreen, Stamullen, Kentstown, Ardcath, Donore, Bettystown, Laytown, Mornington, Julianstown, Gormanston, and Skyrne in east Co Meath.

Containers of water are available meanwhile for people in Co Meath at the following locations: Duleek, Lagavoreen, Donore, Ashbourne, Stamullen, Kentstown, and Ardcath.

Customers are advised to bring their own containers to avail of this water

Tankers have been placed strategically around Drogheda to ease the supply issues,

Meanwhile, the number of alternative water supply stations available in the town has been expanded to six:

  • Bothar Brugha School
  • Ballsgrove bring banks
  • Shop Street
  • Termonabbey
  • Stameen on the Dublin Road
  • Marleys Lane

Water obtained from all those alternative sources mentioned above must be boiled before being consumed, Irish Water said.

With the repair work set to continue into tomorrow at the earliest further full-scale rationing will almost certainly be applied.

Irish Water said it wishes “to apologise to all customers for the interruption to water supply with all efforts being made to restore service as soon as possible”.

Customers can contact our customer care helpline 24/7 on 1850 278278 or visit our service and supply map for further updates.

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