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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 8 July, 2020

Hosepipe ban 'increasingly likely' due to prolonged period of dry weather

There have been 37 dry periods between 18 March and 20 May.

Crowds on Brittas Bay beach, Co Wicklow, where Gardai have turned away non-locals who are trying to visit.
Crowds on Brittas Bay beach, Co Wicklow, where Gardai have turned away non-locals who are trying to visit.

IRISH WATER HAS said it is “increasingly likely” that a water conservation order will be put in place due to increased demand on water and the prolonged period of dry weather. 

Temperatures in Newport Furnace, Co Mayo reached 26.6 degrees Celsius this afternoon, with most of the country seeing temperatures in the high 20s. 

It’s forecast to remain very warm in most areas tomorrow with top temperatures again ranging between 22 and 27 degrees, highest over Leinster and Munster. 

According to Met Éireann, there have been 37 dry periods in Ireland between 18 March and 20 May. This has had an impact of on Irish Water’s 900 drinking water schemes. It says 16 are currently in drought and 38 are at risk of going into drought. 

Two weeks ago, Irish Water asked households to conserve water, warning that people were using an extra 24 litres of water per person per day.

The utility said in a statement this evening that domestic and commercial demand is being exacerbated by warm weather and the widespread emergence of drought conditions.  

To instigate a water conservation order or hosepipe ban, Irish Water needs to be able to demonstrate that a serious deficiency of water available for distribution exists or is likely to exist under the Water Services Act 2007.

Irish Water said it is currently gathering the data “and if the current trend continues the likelihood is that a hosepipe ban will have to be imposed”.

Head of Customer Operations in Irish Water Yvonne Harris said that regardless of the outcome of this process, Irish Water appealing to all customers to conserve water for essential use.

“The decrease in the commercial use of water could not off-set the increase in domestic demand. Some of our highest water users include hospitals, food and pharmaceutical manufacturing and data centres, all of which used the same amount of water as normal during the Covid-19 crisis.

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“The prolonged dry weather has exacerbated the demand on water. A drought means that the water sources like rivers, lakes, springs and ground water that supply the treatment plants are struggling, so at a time when all of the water we produce is being used, the amount we can produce is under threat in several areas around the country.”

On Saturday Irish Water says the Greater Dublin Area used 607 million litres of water, 27 million litres more than average. This increase is the equivalent of the daily usage of around 200,000 people. 

“This is not just a Dublin issue, the levels of demand being experienced nationally cannot be accommodated and run the risk of households not having an adequate supply of water for essential hand washing hygiene,” Harris said. 

“Imposing a Water Conservation Order is not a measure that Irish Water wants to take but it is increasingly likely that we will have to do so. It is essential that our water supply is protected if we are to avoid restrictions and outages over the coming weeks and months.”

To reduce your usage, here is what Irish Water recommends

  • Do not use powerwashers at home 
  • Use a watering can instead of a garden hose 
  • Take showers over baths 
  • Fix any dripping taps if possible 

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Adam Daly

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