More than half of people admit to wasting water but a quarter do not believe they need to conserve water due to the level of rainfall in Ireland, according to the results of a new survey.
In the survey, which was conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes for Irish Water, 52 per cent of people acknowledged wasting water.
Irish Water said it was launching a water conservation campaign to encourage the public to use only what they need because of the economic and environmental cost of providing safe clean drinking water and the need to safeguard the supply for the future.
Each day in Ireland, 1.7 billion litres of water is collected, treated and pumped around a vast network of pipes to homes, businesses, hospitals and farms.
“The treatment process is a lengthy and complex one,” said an Irish Water spokesman. “It can take up to seven stages and up to three days to make raw water suitable to drink.” The spokesman said small measures in conserving water can have a big impact.
Six litres of water a minute can be saved by turning off the tap when brushing your teeth; showering uses half the amount of water of a bath; and keeping a jug of water in the fridge instead of running the cold tap can save up to 10 litres of water.
Irish Water head of asset management Seán Laffey said leakage was a “massive problem” for the utility.
“In 2018, bad storms followed by the prolonged drought really showed people that safe, clean, treated water is not in unlimited supply and that we all have to play a part in conserving it,” he said.
“It was really encouraging last summer to see on social media and elsewhere, the conservation measures that people were taking in their homes and businesses.
“However, when the urgency of a drought passes, it is easy to lose focus on how precious water is. This is despite the fact that the financial and environmental impact of treating and providing drinking water does not decrease as rainfall increases.
“Leakage is a massive problem, but Irish Water has a plan. It will take time and we are making progress to reduce the current national leakage rate of 43 per cent.
“Working with our local authority partners we are fixing over 1,500 leaks every month and we are on track save 166 million litres of water daily by 2021. It is essential that we all work together to safeguard our water for our future.”