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Dublin: 9°C Thursday 6 May 2021

Irish Water staff made house calls to those reported over hosepipe ban

The utility warned that fines may still be issued over the flouting of the restrictions.

Image: Shutterstock/Yulia YasPe

IRISH WATER HAS said it may issue fines to people who violated water restrictions during the recent drought period. 

The utility said it had made house calls to a number of properties after receiving reports about possible violations of the nationwide hosepipe ban.

Earlier this week restrictions were lifted in Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary, Cork, Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny, Carlow, Laois, Offaly, Wicklow, Meath, Westmeath, Louth, Kildare and Dublin.

The rest of the country had restrictions lifted last month.

A spokesperson for Irish Water told TheJournal.ie that, as of yet, no fines have been issued to people who flouted the ban but said “this remains an option”.

In general, the company has been “very encouraged by the efforts of homeowners and businesses to conserve water during the ongoing drought”.

The company’s call centre received an average of 300 calls a week from members of the public seeking information during the recent period of water-use restriction.

Of these calls, a “small proportion” were from members of the public reporting suspected violations of the Water Conservation Order.

The spokesperson said authorised personnel visited homes at which violations were said to have occurred. 

We have been focused on reminding these customers that the Water Conservation Order is in place, the impact of the drought and the need to conserve water.

Most complaints concerned the use of a hosepipe to water a garden or wash a car.

Water supply levels 

The spokesperson for Irish Water said water supply recovery has been “significant” in a number of areas. 

This is the case in most parts of Westmeath but the Mullingar Regional Water Supply Scheme “remains at risk” due to continued falling water supply levels in Lough Owel.

Lough Owel is a spring-fed lake and therefore rainfall levels have minimal impact on the it in the short-term. Water levels at the lake are continuing to fall and are likely to do so until the end of October.

If this is the case, it may still be necessary to introduce nighttime restrictions on the supply in the coming months. Irish Water will continue to monitor the situation and continues to appeal to customers on the supply to be mindful of their water usage and continue to conserve water where possible.

In the Greater Dublin Area, where Irish Water was “very concerned about the levels in the Poulaphuca reservoir”, the rate of decline has decreased significantly and “the probability of an outage is now very low”.

However, the company “remains concerned and continues to monitor the recovery levels of the reservoir very closely”.

Low water levels remain an issue in Kirikee in Wicklow (serving 30 homes) where Irish Water “will continue to liaise with and support those affected”, the spokesperson said.

There are a number of supplies in Cork that remain at risk, as the sources have not fully recovered following the extremely dry spell over the summer and early autumn. These include areas of north Cork at Newmarket, Kanturk, Tullylease, Kilbrin, Boherbue, Charleville, Buttevant and Newtownshandrum.

In Kilkenny and Carlow, customers are asked to continue to conserve water where possible as some schemes in Bennettsbridge, Clogh and Castlecomer remain on nighttime restrictions.

Demand exceeding supply 

The Bennettsbridge Water Supply Scheme is currently on restriction due to “demand for water exceeding the available raw water in the existing sources”, the spokesperson said.

Irish Water said it is working in conjunction with Kilkenny County Council to “take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of these restrictions on customers by managing restrictions to match the availability of water”. As part of this work, the company recently signed contracts to bring a new borehole into supply at Bennettsbridge.

The borehole will require construction work, pump installation, commissioning and testing, and a period of consultation with the Health Service Executive and Environmental Protection Agency before being signed off and approved by Irish Water and Kilkenny County Council.

The supply has suffered in the recent drought conditions and it is anticipated that the additional source will augment the current supply. It is hoped the work will be completed by early November 2018.

Recovery levels have been significant in most of Co Offaly, however some areas continue to be impacted by the summer drought.

Irish Water continues to tanker water into the Lisduff reservoir on the Dunkerrin Public Water Supply Scheme and customers are experiencing periods in the evenings and at night where there is no water supply.

We are also tankering water into Busherstown Water Treatment Plant on the Moneygall Public Water Supply Scheme. Again customers are experiencing nighttime restrictions.

Irish Water is commencing a programme to find and fix leaks in these schemes, along with upgrade works on the Dunkerrin Water Treatment Plant “which will positively impact on supply issues in these areas in the long-term”, the spokesperson said.

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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