Water harvesting in planning as effects of drought still felt

Larger developments in Co Cork may in future have water-harvesting projects attached as a condition of their planning permission after it was confirmed that some communities may have to be supplied by water tankers for the next two months.

Cllr Noel McCarthy: "Ballyhooly deserves to be prioritised."

As the effects of the drought continue to be felt, a senior council engineer said two supplies in North Cork will continue to be augmented by water tankers, with one in Araglin, on the Cork/Waterford border, likely to see this occurring for the next two months.

Pat Walsh, a senior executive engineer with the council’s water services department, said in general the council was using reserves in many parts of the region and are appealing to the public to conserve as much water as possible.

He said the situation will get worse as, without significant rainfall, underground water levels will fall to critical levels in September and night-time water stoppages may be brought into many areas to conserve water stocks.

Mr Walsh said that the community in Araglin was facing “a challenging period ahead” because there were problems with the spring supplying it.

The senior engineer said that “careful consumption patterns were required” at Gortnaskehy, Araglin, where water tanker supply has already been ongoing for the past week and a half.

He said that the council had, on behalf of Irish Water, obtained a contractor to clear around the spring and review its pipework.

This work made a small improvement in the supply. It is expected that if the present drought continues this scheme will have to be supplemented by tanker for periods of time over the next two months.

“It (the spring) will be monitored closely and any further improvements that are identified will be carried out to help the scheme over the challenging period ahead,” Mr Walsh said.

Cllr Kay Dawson asked what the long-term solution would be and was told it would be to link the Araglin area to a supply scheme in Co Waterford, which was two miles away.

Meanwhile, water tankers are continuing to supply the village of Ballyhooly, which has been blighted by a poor supply for the past couple of weeks.

Ballyhooly’s problem is two-fold. Irish Water has admitted that its supply needs upgrading and the recent hot weather has also had a negative impact on water pressure.

Cllr Noel McCarthy said councillors needed to have a meeting with senior Irish Water officials to find out their plans for upgrading the village’s supply scheme.

Ballyhooly deserves to be prioritised. It would be helpful if Irish Water could meet us in County Hall next Monday. The temporary measures are helpful, but a solution to the supply issue is needed,” he said.

Cllr Ian Doyle said people need to become more aware of water conservation.

“The dire state of our water supply system is becoming very evident,” he said.

Cllr Frank O’Flynn said in future all major planning permissions for large estates, schools and factories should only be granted if they have water-harvesting measures included in the developments.

Other councillors agreed with him and Mr Walsh said he would take up the suggestion with the county council’s planning department.

“We should be looking at any measures we can take going forward,” Mr Walsh added.

Cllr O’Flynn said people in Araglin had significantly cut down on water-usage and “nobody was getting their cars washed”.



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