Update from Niall Gleeson – MD Irish Water
National Water Conservation Order likely as drought conditions prevail
I am contacting you all today to let you know that it is highly likely that Irish Water will soon need to impose a national Water Conservation Order, more commonly known as a ‘hosepipe ban’, as demand for treated water has soared over the past few weeks and drought conditions around the country have deteriorated further.
Since March, Irish Water has been carefully monitoring water levels in the lakes, rivers, springs and ground sources that feed our water treatment plants. 16 water supplies currently meet the ‘drought’ definition and 38 further supplies are at risk of going into drought. The long range weather forecast for continued dry conditions will exacerbate the situation and Irish Water’s meter data shows significant spikes in water usage on very sunny days.
Strict criteria must be met under the Water Services Act 2007 for us to impose a Water Conservation Order and we must be able to demonstrate that ‘a serious deficiency of water available for distribution exists or is likely to exist’. Our technical teams have indicated that if the current trend continues a National Water Conservation Order is unavoidable. In the meantime, given the critical levels of water supplies across the country we must appeal once again to all customers to conserve water for essential use.
On 11th May we launched a national public information campaign which will run throughout the summer urging the public to choose handwashing over power washing as domestic water usage increased by an average of 20%. Large commercial water users including hospitals, food producers, pharmaceutical manufacturing and data centres, continued to need significant volumes of water and demand from business is likely to increase further when further Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.
The focus of our campaign remains on reducing non-essential use to make sure we can maintain supplies for handwashing and hygiene to protect public health. Last Saturday 30th May, a warm sunny day, demand for treated water in Greater Dublin went up by the equivalent demand of an extra 200,000 people in a single day. Similar spikes were seen in other parts of the country.
The advice for households is simple. Don’t use a hose to water the garden and turn off the pressure washer. Don’t use large paddling pools, reuse household water for the garden; and take shorter showers. Every litre of water saved counts and we can all work together to make an important difference.
Any support you can give to this important campaign by sharing our Twitter Facebook and LinkedIn posts would be very much appreciated.
Keep in touch
Water conservation will be critical through the summer months as Irish Water continues to work to support the easing of Covid-19 restrictions across the country in the weeks and months ahead. Our focus is on safely maintaining water services and delivering our key investment projects to improve water services across the country.
Check our website and follow our customer channels on Twitter Facebook and LinkedIn for ongoing updates and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
Content Last Updated/Reviewed: 04/06/2020