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Dublin: 2°C Wednesday 20 January 2021

Nationwide Status Yellow drought warning extended into next week

Met Éireann has said there will be small amounts of rainfall at times over the coming days.

Roundwood Reservoir in County Wicklow
Roundwood Reservoir in County Wicklow
Image: Eamonn Farrell via RollingNews.ie

Updated Jul 13th 2018, 3:50 PM

A STATUS YELLOW drought advisory warning for the country has been extended to 3pm next Wednesday by Met Éireann.

The forecaster said there will be small amounts of rainfall at times over the coming days. However, it won’t be enough to see a significant reduction in soil moisture deficits.

The new warning has been valid since 1pm this afternoon.

Earlier today, Irish Water said that water demand is back to where it was this time last year, but it yesterday warned that water restrictions in the Greater Dublin Area are likely.

Yesterday, Irish Water said that nighttime water restrictions may be needed to avoid widespread outages in the autumn and that a final decision is expected today.

A national hosepipe ban remains in place and Irish Water says there are already over 20 schemes across the country on restrictions.

“Demand is now back down to where it was this time last year, so we’re back down to sort of average levels for this time of year, but the reality is we’ve used up a chunk of water in the last four to six weeks that we didn’t really have,” Irish Water Engineer and Corporate Affairs Manager, Kate Gannon told RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland.

She added that the restrictions will mainly affect water pressure between midnight and 5am.

She said that even if the country had two weeks of solid rainfall it would soak up into the ground.

“Based on Met Éireann’s little or no rain for the last 40 days, the forecast predicts little or no rain for the next 10 days,” Gannon said.

“The soil/moisture deficit index means that the soil is very, very dry and if rain falls on it the ground will soak it up before it gets into a well or a borehole or would kind of runoff into a river or lake,” she said.

“We need to get the soil/moisture deficit to over 10ml to get water levels to begin to rise,” she said.

She added that there is a base amount of water that is used over a 24-hour period of time and that some of it is usage and some leakage. She said that reducing the water pressure overnight would serve to reduce both.

Water conservation  

In a statement yesterday, Irish Water said: “Irish Water and the local authorities are working through over 800 district meter areas to establish where water supplies can be restricted and for how long while minimizing the impact to homes and businesses.”

Gannon added: “Introducing restrictions was an option that Irish Water hoped could be avoided because of the inevitable impact on homes and businesses.

We are monitoring the situation, but the weather is not changing, the rain is not coming. Something else has to be done to protect water supply and avoid widespread outages in the autumn.

Speaking in the Dáil yesterday afternoon, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy said there is an urgent need for water conservation.

He said the overriding concern would be for the future availability of drinking water.

The crisis is not over, it’s far from over, although there will be rain this weekend it won’t be anywhere close to what we need.

He said we need three weeks of rain to restore current supplies.

He added that if we don’t see enough rain by August, daytime water restrictions could need to be put in place.

With reporting by Cliodhna Russell

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