Spring due this weekend but do not shed the woollies yet

Water restrictions in Dublin will continue for the foreseeable future, says Irish Water

Phoenix Park in springtime. Average temperatures in Ireland for the last fortnight are down four degrees on normal for the time of year. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Phoenix Park in springtime. Average temperatures in Ireland for the last fortnight are down four degrees on normal for the time of year. Photograph: Dave Meehan

 

After as long a winter as anybody can remember, spring will finally arrive this weekend, but only temporarily.

Temperatures will rise to between 11 and 12 degrees on Saturday and Sunday, about average for the time of year, but will feel positively balmy following the weather of recent weeks.

Average temperatures for the last fortnight are down four degrees on normal for the time of year.

This includes not only the cold snap, which lasted until March 3rd, but the days before the big freeze and afterwards, which were colder than normal. February too was cold with temperatures up to two degrees lower in most places than can be expected for the month.

“Four degrees is a lot,” said Met Éireann forecaster Joanna Donnelly. “Normally temperatures would not fluctuate by more than a degree or two in that time frame.

“I wouldn’t like people to think they should be shedding their winter woollies just yet. We are looking at a rise in temperatures, but we might have to wait until April for spring.”

Water restrictions

Meanwhile, water restrictions will be applied for the fifth night in Dublin tonight.

Irish Water said restrictions will be applied from 8pm on Friday until 6am on Saturday and will generally affect those in the north inner city, parts of Dublin 8, South Circular Road, lower Drumcondra and areas in Crumlin and Walkinstown.

Restrictions will also affect those living in Shankill, Sandycove, Dalkey, Dundrum, Milltown, the Gallops in Sandyford and surrounding areas.

The company said there are no planned water restrictions in Fingal, Kildare, Westmeath, Wicklow, Meath and Leitrim.

Demand on the Dublin network, which serves 1.2 million people, has been 590 million litres a day recently.

Outside of Dublin, there are 2,450 people without a water supply and more than 30,000 with a restricted supply.

A further 12,000 are without water in south Tipperary, where a water treatment plant was contaminated with kerosene. The Fethard public water supply is due to be back up and running on March 19th.

Foreseeable future

Eamon Gallen, general manager of the utility, said restrictions in Dublin will continue for the foreseeable future. He told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland on Friday that restrictions would be reduced for the next two weekends but will be reintroduced and remain in place for “some time to come”. He said problems will persist in some areas until April and May.

Reservoirs in Dublin are 70 million litres lower than they need to be despite “a huge amount of leaks” being repaired, he said.

Mr Gallen said the utility will be concentrating on ensuring full service for areas around Croke Park, the Three Arena and the Aviva stadium, all of which are hosting major events this weekend.

A full service is also expected in Dublin next weekend for St Patrick’s Day festivities.

Leaking pipes

In Dublin the condition of leaking pipes, which are on average 80 years old, together with increased demand, has forced authorities to reduce pressure overnight for the last four nights to allow reservoirs refill.

In a statement on Friday, Irish Water said it will continue to “maximise production for as long as can be sustained and to retain appropriate levels of conservation through leakage reduction restrictions”.

“Working in conjunction with local authorities, and having regard to the progress made, Irish Water is scaling back substantially the number of water restrictions in Dublin for Friday and Saturday,” it said.

“This will involve the team continuing to manage pressure in the system but doing so in a manner which should ensure the vast majority of homes and businesses see little or no impact on their water supply.”