Latest: Water transported in to ease crisis in Louth and Meath

Orla O’Hiligh pictured with her children Caoimhe (11), Megan (7) and Cathal (5) collecting water from a water station on Marley’s lane in Drogheda. People in areas of Louth and Meath have now been without water since Friday, Irish Water have said it could be Thursday before the water supply is restored. Picture Ciara Wilkinson.

Update 6pm: Irish Water has said it  is confident that the water supply in the north east will be fully restored by Thursday.

A special part is being engineered in Belfast to fix a burst main in Drogheda, which is due to be ready and fitted by Wednesday.

Three previous attempts to fix it failed due to the depth and age of the pipe and the fact it’s made from asbestos.

Irish Water’s Conor Foley says in the meantime, tankers are being deployed to ensure people have an emergency supply.

Update 1.30pm: Water is being transported from across the island to help thousands of households affected by a supply crisis in Louth and Meath.

Irish Water said water tankers and containers have been mobilised across the country, including from Northern Ireland Water, as reservoir levels are left "critically depleted" following a burst main pipe.

Tens of thousands of households and businesses in parts of Drogheda and East Meath have been without water since Friday due to the burst main.

Water supplies are not expected to be restored until Thursday.

Irish Water has said it has mobilised water tankers and containers from across the country as part of its response to the shortage.

The supply has had to be shut off to necessitate repair works to the water main.

"Storage reservoir levels are now critically depleted leading to further water supply disruptions in Drogheda and parts of East Meath including Duleek, Lagavoreen, Donore, Ashbourne, Stamullen, Kentstown, Kilbride, Ratoath and Ardcath," Irish Water warned.

A rotating water roster to ration supplies has been temporarily suspended to try and raise reservoir water levels.

Supply in Drogheda has been completely shut off to ensure supply to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.

Louth Labour Senator Ged Nash has hit out at the "cack-handed response" of the authorities to the crisis.

"Frustration is growing by the hour as Irish Water’s own deadlines continue to be missed.

"The patience of the people of Drogheda has been stretched to the limit because of poor and unclear information, missed deadlines and entirely inadequate contingency plans," he said.

Senator Nash added: "There has been nothing like the mobilisation of crews to provide water stations and information that people should be entitled to expect.

"There has been no direct door-to-door communication from Irish Water or visible attempts to, for example, engage directly with older citizens living on their own and to provide for their needs."

The burst at the Staleen Water Treatment Plant occurred on Friday morning. Irish Water said that works to repair the water main have proved to be more difficult than first anticipated, due to the age and type of pipe.

The burst is located more than four metres underground and requires a complex repair.

The plant supplies drinking water to Drogheda and surrounding areas, as well as parts of south Louth and east Meath, including Ashbourne and Ratoath.

Temporary water stations have been established at 21 locations in affected areas.

Update 10.30am: At least 50,000 households across the North East could be without water until the end of this week after a water main serving Louth and Meath burst on Friday.

Three attempts by Irish Water to fix the pipe over the weekend failed and a new section is now being specially engineered in Belfast.

"We have gone down the road of manufacturing and fabriacting a brand new bespoke fitting that will be tailor made for the deformed nature of the pipe," said Conor Foley from Irish Water.

"We expect to have that fitting tomorrow. That will allow us to repair on Wednesday and hopefully restore full supply on Thursday."

Meanwhile Fianna Fáil has denied the scrapping of domestic water charges will lead to similar water failures in other areas.

Housing spokesman Barry Cowen says money had already been allocated for upgrading the Staleen plant before a burst in a mains pipe last Friday.

He says the money lost in domestic charges is being made up by the Government.

"It is being replaced directly with funding from within revenue generation and the improvement in the public finance is guaranteed, the future of that element of funding towards Irish Water well into the future and I’ve no doubt of the capability of it to deliver the programme is not hampered at all," he said.

Update 7.30am: Irish Water hopes to have water supply to the Drogheda and East Meath areas back to normal by this evening.

Supplies have been completely switched off in the area to protect the supply to Our Lady Of Lourdes Hospital.

A rationing system had been in place after the watermain that supplies the Staleen Treatment Plant in Meath ruptured on Friday, but it has been temporarily suspended.

Earlier: Irish Water says three attempts to fix a water main in the North East have failed.

The utility is warning of further disruptions to supply after 30,000 households were left without water over the weekend.

The water main that supplies Staleen Water Treatment Plant ruptured on Friday. It now has to be rebuilt from scratch.

Local TD Fergus O’Dowd says it is a crisis.

"Restaurants can’t open, shops won’t be able to open, businesses won’t be able to function, households can’t function," he said.

"That is a real, absolute crisis and Irish Water have not shown that they have the capacity to deal with that issue. Hopefully they can resolve it."

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