Night-time curbs on water use in 34 areas
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.