Too early to say if hosepipe ban being observed, says Irish Water
Ban expected to be extended to areas beyond Dublin in coming days
The hosepipe ban may be extended to other parts of the country in the coming days. Photograph: Tom Honan.
It is too soon to say if homeowners in Dublin are reporting their neighbours for flouting the hosepipe ban, according to Irish Water.
Under current regulations those who are found to have been using a hosepipe to water gardens, fill paddling pools or wash cars can be subject to a fine of €125 - but Irish Water said it does not want to see that happen.
The authority stressed it would prefer people to educate themselves to the necessity for the hosepipe bans - which it said were likely to be extended to several other parts of the country in the coming days.
The utility has said it will accommodate any farmer who is impacted by reduced water supply from public water sources but hose pipe bans were necessary due to the uncharacteristically long dry spell and forecast drought or near -drought conditions.
The Greater Dublin Region hose pipe ban was introduced on Monday, to last until at least July 31st.
In the coming days the ban will be extended to parts of Kilkenny, Laois and Limerick, due to water shortages, according to Irish Water managing director Jerry Grant.
Likely to extend
Over the next week the ban is “likely to extend” further again, Mr Grant said, on RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland programme.
The ban prohibits people using their garden hose, with a few minor exceptions. People will not be allowed to use a hosepipe to water their garden or potted plants, wash their car or boat, or fill a paddling pool, pond, or water fountain.
People can still water their garden and plants using a watering can, and fill a paddling pool with buckets of water filled from the tap. The hosepipe ban on filling ponds does not apply if there is fish in the garden pond. The ban is in place 24/7 for the next month.
“We are in a crisis situation now,” Mr Grant said, due to water usage outstripping supply. “We are working at the edge of what we can do,” he said.
Tankers of water are being moved from larger water schemes, to smaller under pressure schemes across the country, to maintain an even supply, he said.
The current hot weather is compounding the shortage. Met Éireann has issued a weather warning for drought or near-drought conditions for the entire country for the week.
Amid the shortage, the Lord Mayor of Dublin Nial Ring has said his official car will not be washed while the hosepipe ban is in place. Dublin Bus is also reducing the amount of times its bus fleet is washed.
Speaking in New York, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar urged people to watch their water usage amid the continuing heatwave, warning of a risk of shortages later in the summer and autumn if the hot weather persists.
He repeated his call for people to be “good citizens” and to conserve water, not to use hosepipes or wash cars. People should even avoid leaving the tap running when brushing their teeth, he said.
“We should be doing those things anyway actually, even if we weren’t facing drought conditions. But now that we potentially are we absolutely need to do that,” he said.
Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe urged all water users to make sure they conserve water and use water responsibility.
“Obviously we’d all prefer that enforcement measures were not needed, but I think in circumstances, where Irish Water discover that some water users are using water in such a way that they’d be depriving us all of the use of water across the coming days and beyond, then I think it’s up to Irish Water to take appropriate action,” he said in Limerick.
The Minister said the Government was listening to farmers on the fodder crisis and any concerns they had over the drought.
“The Government have already convened a fodder group…to consider what kind of advice can be made available and what we can do. We are aware of the anxiety and worry that farmers are facing at the moment. We are encouraging them to use feed supplement where they can, to take the place of precious grass that is rapidly depleting in front of us,” he said.
“I’ll listen to what the farmers have to say and see if there are any ideas and views we can bring to government.”
IFA President Joe Healy said the crisis was “a once-in-a-generation weather event which is posing really difficult challenges for some farmers.” He said any farmer who was short of water for livestock shoudl contact Irish Water which he said had undertaken to respond to their needs.
Mr Healy said in the medium term soil moisture and high temperatures were impacting on grass growth rates. He said “the worry now is how quickly growth will resume and whether farmers will be able to save enough silage and hay for the winter ahead, particularly as reserves were well depleted during the extended poor weather conditions earlier this year.”
Mr Healy has urged farmers to to take note of Teagasc advice for feeding in the drought conditions.