Panic buying of bottled water leaves some shop shelves bare

Limerick company said it had more orders in one day than it would normally sell in a week


There was some evidence of panic buying of bottled water across Dublin throughout Wednesday as the boil water notice took affect.

Retailers reported a significant surge in sales with one supplier saying orders had climbed by as much as 800 per cent.

Almost as soon as Irish Waters highlighted safety concerns which it said could affect as many as 600,000 people in the capital as well as in counties Kildare and Meath, water started flowing off shelves of supermarkets in some areas.

In one branch of Lidl in Castleknock supplies were running low within 12 hours of the boil notice taking affect and by midday on Wednesday all the still water had disappeared. Only small amount of sparking water remained.

In the Tesco outlet on Dublin’s Parnell St virtually all the own-brand still water had gone by lunchtime with one staff member telling The Irish Times it had been “flying off the shelves and we have been flat out getting it off the pallets”.

“We have experienced a significant uplift in bottled water sales in stores across Dublin,” a Lidl spokeswoman confirmed. “We have measures in place to ensure our stores remain adequately stocked in the instance of continued rise in demand.”

A Tesco spokeswoman echoed the Lidl response and said it had seen sales volumes increase.

“Due to the ongoing boil water notice, we have seen an uplift in demand for bottled water across stores in the affected areas,” a spokeswoman said adding that its supply chain teams and retail teams had been “working hard to make sure we’ve additional stocks in stores to cater for affected customers.”

Ishka Irish Spring Water in Limerick said it had more orders placed by wholesalers and retailers in a single day than it would normally sell in an entire week.

“Ishka Irish Spring Water has been taking calls from concerned wholesale and retail customers since last night following the boil water announcement from Irish Water regarding the Leixlip Water Treatment Plant,” a spokeswoman said.

She added that as a result, production at the plant in Ballyneety, Limerick had been “significantly increased to cope with demand”.

She said one customer whose weekly order would consist of six truck loads had requested eight truck loads on Wednesday alone. “This represents an 800 per cent jump in their daily supply,” she said.

Each of the factory’s trucks has the capacity to deliver 26,000 litres of spring water in each load.