Cape Clear Islanders call for solution to water supply woes

Residents of Ireland’s most southerly inhabited island have called for a long-term solution to their water supply system as they face in to a fourth day of restrictions.

Cape Clear residents draw water from a tanker at South Harbour on the island yesterday.

Cape Clear island’s development co-op, Comharchumann Chléire Teoranta, led the calls last night as plans were being made to finalise a new delivery of water to the island today.

Water is only available from a tanker located at the South Harbour between 9am and 11.30am as the island’s reservoir continues to experience shortages.

But Irish Water said it hopes to transport another tanker to the island by ferry today, if weather permits.

Comharchumann Chléire Teoranta bainisteoir Máirtín Ó Méalóid said while the water restrictions have been in place since the weekend, islanders have been dealing with restrictions for several weeks.

Water has been turned off in the evenings and at night since June, he said.

Water restrictions have been a regular feature on Cape Clear every summer since he arrived on the island 19 years ago, and even before his arrival there, he said.

“This is not the first time we’ve had water restrictions. It’s almost part of life here every summer,” he said.

Some islanders said this year was the worst for several years because of the particularly dry summer.

The latest problems prompted a huge voluntary effort at the weekend as ferries brought water to the island, where people were waiting to transport it to businesses and households.

“It put a strain on people, but that’s what you do,” said Mr Ó Méalóid. “It is also unfair on the island’s water curator to have to manage a system when there is an inherent problem with it.”

Some food-related businesses had to stop serving for a time.

Despite the difficulties on an island with an official population of 124 — where two Irish colleges and holidaymakers help boost the population close to 700 at the height of the summer — Mr Ó Méalóid said it’s “business as is close to normal as possible”. “We would like to make it very clear though that there needs to be a more firm and longer- term solution,” he said.



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