Restaurants fear losses over night water restrictions
Restaurants Association of Ireland says there is no information on contingency plans for ‘night time economy’
Restaurants say the water restrictions will be even more burdensome later in the night when businesses need to run dishwashers. Photograph: Getty Images
Irish Water must ensure Dublin’s restaurants do not lose their water supplies when night water restrictions come into force on Monday, the Restaurants Association of Ireland has said.
Some 3,500 restaurants stand to be affected by the restrictions which will be in place across the city centre and in 33 suburbs across the greater Dublin area for at least one week.
Pressure will be cut to homes and businesses for seven hours each night from 10pm until 5am, Irish Water has said. Most customers will experience low night-time pressures, but “no loss of supply”. Supply to some customers on high ground and at the remote end of networks may reduce to a “trickle” at the kitchen sink.
Irish Water announced the pressure cuts on Friday, but restaurants’ association chief executive Adrian Cummins said the utility had provided no information on contingency plans to ensure restaurants could remain open.
“We are very deeply concerned regarding these proposals, but we have not seen any contingency plans from Irish Water as to how they will keep the night time economy serviced.
“We have asked if they can provide water tankers, as they do for housing estates, but they have been very vague in their response, and have given no definite commitments.”
He said the 10pm start for the restrictions put restaurants in a very difficult position as they would still be at the “height of service”, particularly at weekends, and water would be required at this time for food preparation. However, the situation would become even more burdensome later in the night when businesses needed to run dishwashers.
“It’s putting a terrible strain on restaurants right at the top of the summer tourist season. It will be a very poor image to put forward of the country to have tourists walking around holding umbrellas only to be told that restaurants aren’t open because of water restrictions.”
He said restaurants were paying for their water, and had a right to expect the service to be maintained. “All restaurants are paying water rates, and if you pay for something you expect a service. Irish Water’s response to date is not good enough. I’m hoping they are not going to make a mess of this.”
A spokesman for Irish Water said it planned that there would “always be a flow of water to everyone, particularly up to the first and second floors of a building”.
Customers at the end of a network, those on higher ground, and those in the uppers floors of buildings may experience a more serious loss of pressure “but very few restaurants would fall into those categories”.
“The impact of these restrictions is something we will be looking at continuously over the week, and anyone affected, including restaurants, can contact us and we can see if we need to tweak things and increase the pressure in particular areas.”
He said the provision of tankers was “not something we have made a determination on, but we can look at it if needs be”.
While he acknowledged there was a significant period of rain in Dublin on Sunday, this would not be sufficient to change the planned night restrictions. “It would take a sustained period of rainfall before there would be any significant impact on water levels at the reservoirs.”
Met Éireann has forecast a mostly dry day in Dublin on Monday, though scattered showers are predicted on Tuesday and Wednesday. “There are some signs of some more significant rainfall in places on Thursday and early Friday, with indications of drier conditions over the weekend,” it said.
Most of the suburbs affected by the night restriction are on the south side of the city, with just nine north side suburbs due to be hit with restrictions. While the restrictions will stretch through south Dublin all the way to Bray in north Wicklow, Beaumont will the most northerly suburb affected.