Water rationing to be extended with supplies shut off at night

Water rationing will be extended to many more areas in the south-west due to the dry spell.

County council officials in both Cork and Kerry confirmed yesterday that water mains schemes will have supplies shut off at night, especially if householders continue to waste water.

Consumption has increased, on average, by 15% in North and West Cork since the sunny spell started, while mains schemes in Kerry have experienced increased demands of between 10% and 20%.

Pat Walsh, a senior engineer in charge of water services in the North Cork council division, said supply was “problematic”, especially on smaller schemes already at capacity.

He appealed to people not to use garden sprinklers or hoses, or to set up water slides for their children.

“We just can’t meet that kind of demand. If consumption continues to grow, it will be a major challenge for us,” Mr Walsh said.

He said water supplies, particularly in the Mitchelstown and Doneraile areas, may shortly have to be cut off at nighttime.

Meanwhile there are also similar restrictions in force in Bantry, Clonakilty, and surrounding areas.

The greater demand for water and ageing mains are also leading to breaks.

Householders in the North Cork villages of Ballyhooly and Kildorrery were without water last weekend, due to breakages.

Mr Walsh and outdoor council workers were commended by councillors for restoring water after a well, which supplies 30 homes at Knockdromoclough in Fermoy, dried up.

Councillors Noel McCarthy (Lab) and Frank O’Flynn (FF) said council engineers drilled a new well and a normal supply was restored within a week.

Mr O’Flynn and his party colleague Cllr Dan Joe Fitzgerald were critical of the council’s out-of-hours hotline where water leaks can be reported.

Both claimed they failed to get through to the hotline on a number of occasions after being contacted by householders.

Moira Murrell, assistant county manager, promised to follow-up on their complaints and monitor the out-of-hours service.

In Kerry, meanwhile, a warning was given yesterday that rivers and lakes used as drinking water sources could run dry.

The county’s environmental services director, Oliver Ring, also called on people to conserve water.

He said the main problem was that demand had increased by 10%-20% and most schemes were not designed to meet these levels.

“This has meant that nighttime water constrictions have had to be introduced in a small number of schemes,” Mr Ring told a council meeting in Tralee.

“The council is proactively managing the situation, including sending water conservation crews to affected schemes.

“I appeal to all consumers to be conscious of their water usage.”

He added: “A bigger problem faces us in some schemes if the dry weather continues for a prolonged period because it is likely that some of our water sources will begin to dry up. River and lake levels would drop significantly and eventually ground water supplies would diminish.

“We will continue to monitor the situation closely and we will take action in good time if necessary.”

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