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Hosepipe ban ‘increasingly likely’ 03.06.20

IRISH Water has confirmed that it is ‘increasingly likely’ that a Water Conservation Order, more commonly known as a hosepipe ban will have to be put in place following increased demand on water and deteriorating drought conditions. This comes during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, when handwashing and hygiene remain critically important.
Two weeks ago, Irish Water, urged the public to choose handwashing over power washing as domestic water usage increased by an average of 20% as more people were staying at home in response to the Covid-19 crisis.
Now the increased domestic demand and increase in commercial demand as businesses are reopening is being exacerbated by warm weather and the widespread emergence of drought conditions.
Since March Irish Water has been carefully monitoring all of its raw water sources, that is the water from lakes, rivers, springs and ground sources that feed our water treatment plants. Of Irish Water’s 900 drinking water schemes, 16 currently are in drought and 38 are at risk of going into drought. The weather forecast is for continued dry conditions which will exacerbate the situation and Irish Water’s data shows spikes of water usage on very sunny days.
Speaking about the developing situation, Irish Water’s Drinking Water Lead for Donegal Kevin Love said: “We are appealing to the public to redouble their efforts in conserving water in the home and in the garden. With so many people staying at home during the Covid-19 crisis, domestic demand for water increased by 20% at a time when our water treatment plants were working at maximum capacity.
“We are monitoring a number of water supplies in Co. Donegal that have reduced raw water source levels as a result of the prolonged dry period with particular focus on Letterkenny, Lettermacward and Lough Mourne. Increased demand on our water supplies over the bank holiday weekend resulted in night time restriction being implemented on parts of the Lough Mourne and Letterkenny water supplies to ensure there is available supply for all our customers on all parts of our networks.
“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.
“There are lots of helpful tips for conserving water on Water.ie but the key things are to leave the hose and the pressure washer in the shed; don’t use paddling pools; reuse household water for the garden; and take shorter showers. Safeguarding the supply of water is essential at this time when handwashing and hygiene is of critical importance. We are calling on everyone to play their part.”
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