Water supply restrictions could continue for weeks
More than a million people in the greater Dublin area with reduced supply overnight
In addition to the Dublin restrictions, there were about 20,500 people with no water and 47,000 with reduced flow
Irish Water has apologised after thousands of households across the State again faced a reduced supply overnight, but the utility firm warned that the restrictions could continue for days or even weeks.
As part of an effort to replenish supplies in reservoirs following the freezing weather last week, water supplies to many households and businesses in and around Dublin were curtailed between 8pm and 6am.
Irish Water said most of the 1.2 million people on the network in the capital and surrounding counties have seen little effect to their supply. However, it added: “those on the edges of the network or on high ground are most affected”.
A spokesman for Irish Water said that in addition to the Dublin restrictions, there were about 20,500 people with no water supply and 47,000 with reduced flow. A further 3,000 Irish Water customers have been asked to boil water before using it, mainly in Aughrim, Co Wicklow.
Irish Water said those without water are in Galway, Leitrim, Wexford and Tipperary. Those with a restricted supply include areas in Cork, Galway, Kildare, Leitrim, Mayo, Kerry and Meath.
Irish Water’s general manager, Eamon Gallen, asked customers to conserve supplies where possible and warned that the restrictions would continue for days or possibly weeks.
Some 12,000 of those with no water are in south Tipperary, where a water treatment plant was contaminated with kerosene. It is likely that people in the affected area will face a fortnight without mains water.
Most affected by reduced pressure are those on higher ground or in properties further away from Irish Water valves.
Seán Hogan, chairman of the National Emergency Co-ordination Group (NECG), said the Government would cover the “exceptional and unbudgeted” costs faced by local authorities’ as a result of the freezing weather. A status yellow snow and ice warning remained in place for Leinster overnight.
Groups coordinating the weather response in some 15 counties stood down yesterday, as most roads reopened, but it will be midweek before many isolated areas can begin to get back to normal.
NECG member John Mulholland said the west coast was mostly cleared of snow and ice, but roads and transport services in Wexford, Wicklow and Kildare, Waterford and south Dublin remain disrupted.
He said such was the scale of the snowfall that snow ploughs were ineffective in many areas and many roads were being cleared by “people with shovels throwing snow over the ditch”.
Water use in the capital increased by 10 per cent during the cold snap as a result of pipes bursting . There was also increased water usage due to more people being at home. The reserve in the city’s reservoir fell from 880 million litres to 750 million litres.
The uitility firm’s managing director Jerry Grant apologised to those in the greater Dublin area who did not have a water supply yesterday morning.
“When you do this kind of exercise, properties in particular areas do not get supply back instantly and it can take some time to recover,” he said.
Mr Grant said the shorter timeframe of 8pm to 6am restrictions was to ensure “people will have water at breakfast”.
Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin said yesterday that the Department of Housing and Irish Water had not been fully prepared for the freeze.
A spokesman for Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy rejected this, saying that there was awareness of this potential problem from the outset.
Correction Wednesday, March 7th: An earlier version of this story stated 1.2 million people in Dublin and surrounding areas had their water supply curtailed between 8pm and 6am. Irish Water clarified on Wednesday that there are 1.2 million people on the network in this area and not all of them were affected.