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Dublin: 6°C Thursday 25 February 2021

25% of Irish people say they don't need to conserve water because of how often it rains

Irish Water also admitted that leaks across the country are a “massive problem”, at a rate of 43%.

JUST OVER HALF of the Irish public have said that they waste water, and 25% said they don’t believe they need to conserve water because of how often it rains in Ireland, according to research by Behaviour & Analysis conducted on behalf of Irish Water.

One year on from the worst drought in Ireland in 70 years that saw hosepipe bans, the research shows that 52% of the public acknowledge that they waste water.

Each day in Ireland, 1.7 billion litres of water is collected, treated and pumped around a network of pipes to homes, businesses, hospitals and farms.

It can take up to seven stages and up to three days to make raw water suitable to drink.

As the population increases, Irish Water says it needs to ensure that it has the water supply to provide for homes and businesses while still protecting the environment. 

As part of this, Irish Water says it’s helping to conserve water by fixing leaks, but adds that “conservation by homes and businesses is key”.

It’s launching a water conservation campaign to encourage the public to use only what they need due to the economic and environmental cost of providing safe clean drinking water and the need to safeguard the supply for the future.

Small measures in conserving water can have a big impact. Six litres of water a minute can be saved by turning off the tap when brushing your teeth; showering uses half the amount of water of a bath; and keeping a jug of water in the fridge instead of running the cold tap can save up to 10 litres of water.

Irish Water’s Head of Asset Management Seán Laffey said: “In 2018, bad storms followed by the prolonged drought really showed people that safe, clean, treated water is not in unlimited supply and that we all have to play a part in conserving it.

“It was really encouraging last summer to see on social media and elsewhere, the conservation measures that people were taking in their homes and businesses. However, when the urgency of a drought passes, it is easy to lose focus on how precious water is. This is despite the fact that the financial and environmental impact of treating and providing drinking water does not decrease as rainfall increases.”

On the leaks in the system, Irish Water said:

Leakage is a massive problem, but Irish Water have a plan. It will take time and we are making progress to reduce the current national leakage rate of 43%.

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“Working with our local authority partners we are fixing over 1,500 leaks every month and we are on track save 166 million litres of water daily by 2021.”

The Irish Times reported yesterday that an expert has told the Oireachtas Housing, Planning and Local Government committee that Irish Water’s plan to pipe water for the Shannon to supply Dublin’s needs isn’t necessary.

The analysis by Emma Kennedy (which is laid out clearly here) says that this wouldn’t solve the problem without addressing the high rate of leaks in Ireland’s old pipes.

If you want to learn how to conserve water at home or in work, you can find helpful tips on the Irish Water website here.  

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