Irish Water urges public to report those disobeying hosepipe ban

Utility increases call centre staff as conditions raise concerns over water supplies

A month-long ban on the watering of gardens, washing cars or boats, and filling pools from public water supplies, using a hose, comes into force in the capital on Monday. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times.

A month-long ban on the watering of gardens, washing cars or boats, and filling pools from public water supplies, using a hose, comes into force in the capital on Monday. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times.

 

Irish Water is increasing its phone line staff numbers in anticipation of reports of water wasting as the hose pipe ban comes into force across Dublin.

A month-long ban on the watering of gardens, washing cars or boats, and filling pools from public water supplies, using a hose, comes into force in the capital on Monday.

Paddling pools can still be used, but only when filled with buckets from a tap, not a hose, and while domestic ornamental fountains cannot be filled, commercial fountains can, Irish Water said.

Using a hose to fill or replenish ponds will also be banned, except where the pond contains fish.

The ban in the capital will initially last until July 31st, but could be extended, Irish Water said. It was likely that similar orders would be implemented in other parts of the country in the coming weeks, it said.

The primary purpose of these orders was to “mobilise maximum public support” for water conservation, it said.

“Irish Water is backing up these orders by increasing the number of call centre agents to take calls from the public and we will follow up such reports.”

People who wish to report incidents of excessive water use should contact Irish Water on 1850 278 278.

A spokeswoman said the utility would follow up the report, but would only take action where they did not receive a positive response from the householder in question or there was “excessive and continuous usage” or water.

If Irish Water decides to take enforcement action, a notice will be served on the person alleged to have breached the order giving them 21 days to pay a sum of €125. If this sum is paid, then a prosecution will not be taken.

“Irish Water does not want to take people to court, but will have to review its options in the case of a persistent breach of the order combined with a refusal to pay the on-the-spot fine, ” it said.

“We expect that most people will be ‘law abiding’ and that the order will be adhered to by the vast majority of the public. We will act in cases where there is excessive and continuous usage, but we would hope that this will be in only a small number of cases.”

Demand

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. Demand shot up to 615 million litres in the middle of last week but moderated in recent days to 582 million litres.

Irish Water said some of the fall was down to businesses being closed and households being away over the weekend.

“Usage remains well above normal for the capital. We are appealing to the public and business owners as they return to work tomorrow to continue to conserve water to protect water levels in our reservoirs,” it said.

“While Irish Water can currently produce up to 610 million litres per day, at these levels all headroom is exhausted and the sources, particularly Pollaphuca reservoir on the Liffey is being drawn down at a rate that puts supplies at risk later in the summer and into the autumn.”

A total of 120 water schemes across the country are at risk from drought and could face hosepipe bans. Night-time water restrictions are in place in 39 areas, and tankers are redistributing water around reservoirs.

Both rural and urban areas are at risk of drought , Irish Water said.