Hosepipe ban will not be lifted despite rainfall warning

Forecast thunderstorms will not be sufficient to replenish reservoirs, Irish Water warns

The hosepipe ban is in place until  July 21st.  Photograph: iStock

The hosepipe ban is in place until July 21st. Photograph: iStock

 

A national hosepipe ban will remain in place despite the prospect of torrential rain over the coming days, Irish Water has said.

Met Éireann has issued an orange weather warning for the counties of Leitrim, Longford, Cavan and Roscommon where some 50mm of rain was forecast for Monday afternoon as thundery downpours sweep across the country.

A status yellow thunderstorm warning is in place for counties Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Carlow, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Louth, Offaly, Westmeath, Meath, Galway, Leitrim, Roscommon, Sligo, Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary for the same period.

Parts of the south and west saw heavy accumulations of rain over the weekend as a result of thunderstorms.

Irish Water issued a hosepipe ban on June 8th following the driest spring on record the east of the country and a generally dry spring nationwide.

The ban will apply for an initial six-week period until midnight on July 21st, unless it is extended.

Households found to be in breach of the ban can be fined €125.

On Monday Irish Water said the drought conditions were so entrenched that even the rain last week and expected rain this week would not replenish the reservoirs following the recent dry spell.

It said the number of schemes in drought has increased from 27 to 35 and the ones in potential drought has grown from 50 to 52 since the Water Conservation Order came into force a week ago.

Irish Water said a minimum accumulation of 100mm (the equivalent of four inches of rain) was needed to offset the impact of the unseasonable lack of rainfall since March.

A spokeswoman for Irish Water added: “We are keeping the situation under continuous review and are liaising closely with other key agencies such as Met Éireann, the OPW, the EPA, amongst others and if the situation improves we will consider lifting the Water Conservation Order.

“However, any change is unlikely in the short term. We are continuing to appeal to people to conserve water where they can and to comply with the order to safeguard supplies for essential sanitation and handwashing.”

Irish Water last introduced a hosepipe ban in July 2018 in the greater Dublin region, before extending it nationwide.

The duration of the ban was extended several times amid continued drought conditions and remained in place for Dublin and several other counties until September that year.

In recent weeks demand on the water supply for the greater Dublin region has surged during sunny days, at times nearing the utility’s maximum capacity of 615 million litres a day.