A hosepipe ban has been introduced by Irish Water across West Cork, due to “severe stress” on the local water supply caused by a long period of dry weather.
The water conservation order will be in place across 30 local water supplies in the area from midnight on Monday.
The ban prohibits people using their garden hose to wash their car, water their garden or potted plants, or fill a paddling pool.
Irish Water said rainfall levels in West Cork had been below average for every month since last November, with the exception of this June.
In a statement, the national water utility said “this has impacted water resources as they need time to replenish, and it will take six to eight weeks of rainfall to do that”.
It said there was just 6.3mm of rain recorded at the Roches Point weather station in Cork between August 14th and 23rd. This compared to some 18.4mm of rain in Mullingar, Co Westmeath and 32mm of rainfall during that period in Markree Castle, Sligo.
Irish Water is concerned further dry weather over the next two weeks will put more pressure on the local water supplies in the area. Cork County Council and Irish Water are delivering tankered water to three local supplies at present, to prevent outages.
The water utility said demand in West Cork had increased significantly during the dry summer period, in popular tourist spots as well as farmland.
Margaret Attridge, Irish Water’s acting head of asset operation, said the water levels in West Cork had dropped to “historic lows”, putting pressure on the system. “Irish Water’s top priority is to protect our water supply for use in homes, businesses and essential services,” she said.
“As demand continues to outstrip supply in West Cork and with further dry weather predicted, we have taken the extra step of implementing a water conservation order to safeguard local water supplies,” she said.
The hosepipe ban was necessary to avoid a situation where locals in West Cork faced water outages, she said.
“The introduction of this order follows a series of measures that Irish Water has put in place to safeguard supplies over the summer, including tankering water to reservoirs, night-time shut-offs in some areas, pressure management and a public information campaign aimed at raising awareness of the importance of water conservation year-round,” Ms Attridge said.
Irish Water said the hosepipe ban is to remain in place until September 26th.