Update from Niall Gleeson – MD Irish Water
National Water Conservation Order in place for six weeks from tomorrow
Please support us with important conservation messages
Further to my note to you last week, as we expected, our water supply situation has deteriorated further and we have taken the significant but necessary decision to impose a national Water Conservation Order for six weeks from tomorrow Tuesday 9th June until 20th July. Notices have been placed in national newspapers today explaining the prohibited uses of water.
Met Eireann has confirmed that May 2020 was the driest since 1850 with temperatures above average across the country. Greater Dublin, Westmeath, Sligo and Tipperary had their driest spring on record. 27 Irish Water drinking water supplies are now in drought and 50 are at risk of drought. This situation is not likely to improve and the rainfall needed to replenish supplies around the country is significant.
What is most dramatic about how we are using water at the moment is the big spikes in water demand on very sunny days. In Dublin, the difference in demand between a hot sunny day and a dull damp day can be as much as 50 million litres of water. Assuming that levels of handwashing at home and water used by businesses is steady, this increase in demand is very likely to be non-essential domestic use and it is just not sustainable. As raw water levels in rivers and reservoirs continues to fall, water engineer Tom Cuddy, Irish Waters Operations Support Manager put it quite simply in an Irish Times interview this weekend; “We’re drinking tomorrow’s water today and then hoping it rains tomorrow”. We will track water supplies carefully in the weeks and months ahead and do everything we can, working with local authorities, to continue treating and supplying water and minimise restrictions and disruptions to our customers.
Leakage reduction is always a core activity
Leakage reduction is a challenge for every water utility and it is a critical activity for Irish Water. Reducing leakage requires a co-ordinated national plan, sustained investment and long term commitment. Irish Water will invest €500m in our National Leakage Reduction Programme up to 2021 and more than €100m this year alone reducing leakage. This, along with dedicated water conservation and delivering future proofed infrastructure is the way to deliver resilient drinking water services. In the current drought, we are increasing leak detection and repair across the country, particularly in water stressed areas, and this critical work will continue. Water savings through leakage reduction are vital but not sufficient to avoid a Water Conservation Order.
Keep in touch - Your support will help our efforts
Irish Water will continue to advise our large commercial water users on their conservation efforts and many are already taking steps to save water. We have also identified large leaks on commercial premises and are working with business to get these leaks repaired. Our extensive public information water conservation campaign will continue throughout the summer with information available on our website and customer channels on Twitter Facebook and LinkedIn
I encourage you to share this important advice with your staff and through your own networks as we all work together to save water. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
Content Last Updated/Reviewed: 08/06/2020