Night-time curbs on water use in 34 ar­eas

Irish Examiner - - News - Eve­lyn Ring and Elaine Lough­lin

Night-time water re­stric­tions are to be in­tro­duced in parts of Dublin and Wick­low from Mon­day night, Irish Water have con­firmed.

The util­ity says the re­stric­tions that will af­fect water pres­sure from 10pm to 5am were be­ing in­tro­duced in 34 ar­eas to pro­tect fu­ture water sup­ply and avoid wide­spread out­ages in the au­tumn.

There has been no sig­nif­i­cant rain­fall for over 40 days and none is ex­pected un­til Thurs­day at least.

Irish Water, to­gether with lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, con­sid­ered 800 district me­ter ar­eas yes­ter­day to es­tab­lish where sup­plies could be re­stricted.

Ar­eas around ma­jor hospi­tals have been pro­tected and pres­sure will not be af­fected in those ar­eas.

Re­stric­tions have al­ready been placed on 25 water schemes through­out the coun­try.

Irish Water en­gi­neer and cor­po­rate af­fairs man­ager Kate Gan­non said the de­ci­sion to “lock down” the re­stric­tions to these ar­eas was not taken lightly.

Pres­sure will be re­duced to the min­i­mal that is prac­ti­cal for nor­mal pres­sure to reach the ground floor of a two storey house.

Sup­ply to some cus­tomers on high ground and at remote end of net­works may re­duce to a trickle at the kitchen sink dur­ing those pe­ri­ods.

“We will con­tinue to mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion,” said Ms Gan­non. “These re­stric­tions will re­main in place for one week and then be re­assessed.”

Cus­tomers have been urged to con­tact the util­ity if they are be­ing ad­versely af­fected.

Mean­while, Met Éire­ann updated its Sta­tus Yel­low drought ad­vi­sory yes­ter­day — it is now valid un­til Wed­nes­day.

While there will be small rain­fall amounts at times over the com­ing days there will be no sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in soil mois­ture deficits as evap­o­ra­tion rates will re­main high.

Fore­caster Joan Black­burn said any rain­fall over the next four to five days re­sult­ing from a weak At­lantic in­flu­ence would be quite light.

Rain­fall might be more sig­nif­i­cant from Thurs­day but it was too early to “pin your hopes on it”, she said.

Tea­gasc has warned that the cur­rent drought was hav­ing a very se­ri­ous ef­fect on the field vegetable sec­tor.

A report from Tea­gasc Hor­ti­cul­ture De­vel­op­ment De­part­ment points out that where ir­ri­ga­tion is avail­able, it costs around €100 an acre for ev­ery 25mm ap­pli­ca­tion of water.

The report es­ti­mates that a sig­nif­i­cant amount of ir­ri­gated crops brought to mar­ket this year run the risk of be­ing loss mak­ing due to the ad­di­tional costs in­curred in get­ting them there.

There is a range of losses for crops with­out ir­ri­ga­tion, from com­plete crop fail­ure to se­verely re­duced yields of mar­ketable pro­duce.

Tea­gasc hor­ti­cul­ture ad­viser based in the south, Andy Whel­ton, warned that the fre­quency of com­plete crop fail­ures would ac­cel­er­ate in the com­ing weeks if the mois­ture deficit re­mained.

Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture, Food, and the Marine Michael Creed urged farm­ers to heed the con­ser­va­tion warn­ing as sup­plies could be be­come more pro­nounced in Septem­ber be­cause of the pro­longed drought.

“I think it would be pru­dent at this stage for every­body to be con­scious of the need to con­serve what is a very scarce re­source,” said Mr Creed.

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