Northern Ireland hosepipe ban to remain in place

Despite ‘slowly improving picture’, Northern Ireland Water renews calls to conserve

Northern Ireland Water workers filling a tanker from the mains in south Belfast before transporting to top up a low level reservoir. Photograph: David Young/PA Wire

Northern Ireland Water workers filling a tanker from the mains in south Belfast before transporting to top up a low level reservoir. Photograph: David Young/PA Wire

 

Northern Ireland Water has said a hosepipe ban will continue until there is enough treated water to meet demand.

The ban limiting domestic water use, which began last Friday, is continuing despite NIW seeing a “slowly improving picture”.

Water treatment works have been operating at near maximum levels, with more than 700 million litres of water per day being put into the network, more than 30 per cent higher than usual.

On Monday, an NIW spokeswoman said staff were “monitoring the situation continuously”.

“We do not want the ban to continue any longer than is necessary. However, the ban will not be lifted until we are confident there is enough treated water to meet the required water demands,” she said.

Loss of pressure

Over the weekend homes in Belfast, Lurgan and Coalisland experienced a loss of pressure and intermittent supply failure.

“Currently there is no one specific area affected by water supply issues,” an NIW spokeswoman said.

“However, if people continue to use water at the current rate, the loss of supply could become a reality anywhere.

“Unnecessary use of water – ie washing cars, watering lawns etc – is putting the water supply of your own household and that of your neighbours at risk.”

NIW has “plenty of untreated water” from previous rainfall stored in natural loughs and behind dams. The problem is “the sheer amount of water people are using at the tap”, she said.

The Ulster Farmers’ Union is calling on the public to support the calls to reduce water consumption. Its president, Ivor Ferguson, said: “As this prolonged spell of hot weather continues, it’s essential that all farm animals have an adequate supply of water. Even a temporary shortage would have a devastating effect on animal welfare.”

The last hosepipe ban in Northern Ireland was in 1995. The Met Office has said Northern Ireland experienced its warmest June since records began in 1910.