Restrictions to stay as councils battle to fix leaks

WATER supplies in many parts of the country will still to be restricted today as local authorities continue to repair leaks caused by this week’s sudden thaw.

An unprecedented loss of water in the Dublin area saw restrictions being placed throughout many regions.

Dublin City Council — which caters for half a million people — said it was down 20 million litres of water a day on normal levels. Homeowners, businesses and schools as well as those with empty properties have been asked to check for leaks.

Most restrictions and cut-offs on supplies lasted from 6pm last night until 12 noon today in 18 areas throughout the capital.

Council engineers said most of the city was suffering from a loss of services but as pressure built back up on water supplies, they were looking to lift restrictions on premises for New Year’s Eve and Day.

Tankers with supplies will be located at a number of areas today.

Kildare County Council said last night that its supplies were slowly returning to normal but that night-time restrictions on water services would likely be in place for the rest of the week.

Extra staff were also drafted in to deal with burst pipes, tanker deliveries and emergency telephone lines.

Limerick County Council said that on top of nighttime water supply restrictions, households and businesses could also expect temporary cut-offs during the day, particularly in elevated areas. A standpipe has been set up in the Newcastle West Area Office. A water tanker will be in the GAA car park in Abbeyfeale each day and a standpipe has also been set up at the council’s Annacotty area office.

Waterford County Council has night restrictions in place in a number of areas, including Tramore, Tallow and Ballyduff Upper.

Local authorities countrywide advised property owners with vacant or closed premises to also check for leaks or burst pipes.

The Department of the Environment said repair crews around the country were making every effort to restore supplies and that water in affected areas would be provided by tankers and standpipes on local roads.

Department water services adviser Gerry Galvin added: “We have just come through some of the coldest weather in decades and the resultant thaw has caused very serious disruption to the water system nationwide.”

Elsewhere, restrictions are in place in Tullamore, Co Offaly, while parts of Roscommon and Sligo were also affected after a major water mains burst.

Water supplies remain at seriously low levels for up to 80,000 households in Galway city and county.

Meanwhile, companies covering household insurance have reported an increase in claims and queries over the Christmas period because of burst pipes and leaks. Quinn Insurance said it had seen a “significant” increase in callers to its helpline. Assessors were being sent to homes but customers were being advised to repair leaks while claims were checked.

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