Contingency plans being drawn up for tankers to deliver water

Department says without heavy rainfall in coming weeks, further restrictions inevitable

A water tanker near Vartry Reservoir, Co Wicklow. The Department of Housing and Local Government said on Sunday that  even with some rainfall, reservoir levels will not rise because the soil is too dry.  Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

A water tanker near Vartry Reservoir, Co Wicklow. The Department of Housing and Local Government said on Sunday that even with some rainfall, reservoir levels will not rise because the soil is too dry. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

Plans are being drawn up by the Government for tankers to deliver water to households if the current drought continues.

The Department of Housing and Local Government confirmed on Sunday that plans were being drawn up for Irish Water to supply water by tankers to areas worst affected by the drought.

A spokesman said if there was no significant rainfall between now and September, homes at the end of pipelines or on high ground will be worst affected, but that a rolling tanker service was planned, if needed.

If the drought continues, this will extend to large areas, he said.

Conservation efforts were having an effect, but without heavy rainfall in the coming weeks, further restrictions were inevitable, the department said.

In an interview with the Sunday Business Post, Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy – who also has responsibility for water services – said the Government was planning for “worst-case scenarios”.

Serious disruptions

“If we don’t get three to four weeks of rain between now and the middle of September, we’re going to have serious disruptions to the water supply in Dublin.” There were already serious disruptions in other parts of the country, he added.

Mr Murphy wrote to all TDs as the Dáil adjourned for the summer asking them to highlight the need for water conservation.

He said maintaining drinking water supplies would be the “single biggest challenge” arising from the drought conditions.

The department stressed that while supplies were adequate in most places at present, reservoir levels will continue to drop and even with some rainfall, levels will not rise because the soil was too dry after weeks of drought.

Met Éireann is forecasting some rain this week, but there is no sign of the sustained heavy rain needed to replenish supplies.