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Dublin: 14 °C Monday 3 August, 2020

The hosepipe ban kicks in from today - here's what it means

The Greater Dublin Area, Westmeath, Sligo and Tipperary experienced their driest spring on record this year.

Image: Shutterstock/Andrew Kerr

FOR THE NEXT six weeks, people will be limited in how they can use water.

Irish Water has put into force a National Water Conservation Order, or hosepipe ban, that will remain in place from today until midnight on Tuesday 21 July. 

Using water drawn through a hosepipe for the following reasons are now banned:

  • Watering a garden
  • Cleaning a car, motorbike, or van
  • Cleaning a private leisure boat
  • Filling or cleaning a garden swimming or paddling pool – except when using handheld containers filled directly from a tap
  • Filling or maintaining a fountain or domestic pond – excluding fish ponds
  • Filling or replenishing an artificial pond, lake or a similar body of water.

People should consider doing these activities using rainwater instead.

Aldi is advising customers that its inflatable Ring Paddling Pool and inflatable Jumbo Paddling Pool will not go on sale this Thursday, 11 June due to the hosepipe ban.

Aldi has also decided to cancel all planned upcoming Specialbuys of this nature for the duration of the six-week ban.

Why is this ban coming into effect?

The weather has been extremely dry lately; Met Éireann has said that this was the driest weather in the month of May since 1850. The Greater Dublin Area, Westmeath, Sligo and Tipperary experienced their driest spring on record.

This causes problems for domestic water supplies however, due to an increase in demand for water. For the month of May, people all over the country increased their domestic water use by 20%, Irish Water data indicates.

During the June Bank holiday, the exceptionally warm saw an equivalent daily increase of water usage for an additional 200,000 people being used in the Greater Dublin Area. And it’s not just a Dublin problem – that trend is echoed across the country.

The dry weather has depleted water levels, with 27 of Irish Water’s 900 drinking schemes in drought and a further 50 in risk of going into drought. 

Bohernabreena_5Jun20.1 Water levels in Bohernabreena Reservoir, Co Dublin on 5 June. Source: Naoise Culhane

“The last three months, this spring has been one of the driest on record and the projections from Met Éireann is that the dry weather is going to continue,” Niall Gleeson of Irish Water told RTÉ.

Irish Water estimates that a minimum of 100mm rainfall, spread over a number of weeks, would be required to replenish domestic water supplies – normal rainfall levels would be needed after that.

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What about the pandemic?

The idea behind the hosepipe ban is to conserve water for more essential activities, like washing your hands, for example.

If you want to use water for gardening, you can save the water used to wash vegetables or dishes by collecting it in a bucket or basin in your sink, or collecting water by keeping a bucket or basin in your shower. 

The last hosepipe ban came into effect in July 2018, and was extended several times  due to extremely dry conditions. It remained in place in Dublin and other areas until September 2018.

You can find more tips for conserving water here

- with reporting from Sean Murray 

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