Dublin hose pipe ban could be extended nationwide

Irish Water assessing more than 100 ‘at-risk’ supplies

The watering of gardens attached to hotels or other businesses is banned, but garden centres and “visitor” gardens, such at the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, are exempt from the ban. Photograph: Getty Images

The watering of gardens attached to hotels or other businesses is banned, but garden centres and “visitor” gardens, such at the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, are exempt from the ban. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Bans on watering gardens, washing cars and filling pools from public water supplies could be faced by communities across the country to avoid nationwide droughts, Irish Water has said.

The month-long hose pipe ban which comes into force in Dublin on Monday may have to be extended to other areas whose water supplies are at risk, the utility said.

More than 100 water schemes around the country have been deemed “at risk” by Irish Water, and all will now be assessed for a possible hose pipe ban.

Customers in Kilkenny, Longford, Athlone, north Galway, Louth and Kerry have already experienced restricted water supply and outages in some cases.

Areas in Cork, Wicklow, Limerick, Kilkenny, Carlow, Tipperary, Clare, Mayo, Sligo, Donegal, Galway, Roscommon, Laois, Limerick, Kerry, Waterford and Offaly have been identified as being at risk.

Irish Water has mobilised tankers across the country to fill reservoirs that are most at risk to protect water supplies and ensure customers have access to water. The utility said it was closely monitoring the water supply situation on the Aran Islands, and was ready to ship water to the islands in the coming weeks if necessary.

Urgent needs

“We are in touch with the farming organisations and offering assistance where water shortage is leading to animal welfare concerns. In critical situations we will accommodate farmers who need to collect water by tanker where it can be made available to meet urgent needs.”

The measures in the capital will only apply to domestic water use, with businesses largely escaping the ban.

“Irish Water is mindful of the impact that a water conservation order might have on businesses and the tourist industry, and for that reason the prohibition is mainly limited to domestic users with the exception of gardens,” said Irish Water’s corporate affairs manager Kate Gannon.

The watering of gardens attached to hotels or other businesses is banned, but garden centres and “visitor” gardens, such at the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, are exempt from the ban.

Water source levels, especially the main raw water storage facility at Pollaphuca, are dropping at similar rates to previous droughts in 1975, 1976, and 1995.

Litres of water

Irish Water can produce 610 million litres of water per day to serve the Dublin area. Last summer an average of 565 million litres of water per day was used. This summer the average has risen to 585 million litres, but by last Monday the levels were at 609 million litres.

On Tuesday demand fell to 603 million litres, but the following day shot up to 615 million litres, exceeding the production capacity by 5 million litres. On Thursday usage fell back to 607 million litres, but the recovery was not sufficient to avoid implementing the hose pipe ban, Irish Water said.

A similar ban came into force across Northern Ireland on Friday evening for an indefinite period, with its water use running at 25 per cent above normal levels.

The Northern Ireland ban covers similar activities to those in the South, but also extends to cleaning windows, walls, paths and patios using a hose.