A nationwide hosepipe ban will take effect from tomorrow amid rising concern at rapidly depleting water supplies as the heatwave shows no sign of ending.
The water conservation measure is against a backdrop of almost no rain for the last 30 days and a 15% rise in demand across all water resources nationally.
The challenges posed by the drought are set to intensify will little or no rain forecast for at least the next 10 days.
The ban, which had been confined to the greater Dublin area, will apply to all domestic public water supplies and to non-commercial activities on commercial premises, such as watering gardens attached to business premises.
It kicks in from 8am tomorrow and will remain in place until the end of the month.
Even if it does rain, Met Éireann has advised that water sources, such as rivers, streams and lakes, will not be replenished for at least a week, because moisture-starved soil will absorb it.
Irish Water said smaller groundwater sites in particular may take “many months to recover”.
The hosepipe ban does not apply to private wells or private group water schemes.
Kate Gannon, Irish Water Corporate Affairs Manager & Water Conservation expert, explains why a National Water Conservation Order is required to help protect water supplies now and over the coming months. View the video at https://t.co/5RjKSXlgM6 #ConserveWater pic.twitter.com/LoXCZdYTXr— Irish Water (@IrishWater) July 4, 2018
Irish Water’s corporate affairs manager Kate Gannon said imposing a hosepipe ban “reflects the serious need for water conservation now and over the coming months”.
“It is essential that our water supply resources are conserved to help avoid further restrictions and outages over the coming weeks and months,” she said.
A range of conservation measures are being rolled out across the country in an effort to protect public water supplies:
- In Cork, night-time restrictions have been imposed for the foreseeable future on the Inniscarra, Clonakilty and Kilbrin water supplies from 11pm until 7am.
- Freemount, Gortnaskethy, Castletownroche, Ballinatona, Kilva, Mallow, Crookhaven, Goleen, Schull, Cahernacrin, Derryginagh, Knockraha, Corbally, Minane, Nohoval, Roberts Cove, Whitechurch, and Cobh water supplies are classified as at-risk and customers are asked to be especially mindful of water consumption
- In Limerick, night-time restrictions from midnight until 6am continue in Pallasgreen, Herbertstown, Knocklong, Hospital and Oola.
- Restrictions in Tipperary continue nightly in Coolbawn from midnight to 6am.
- In Kerry, the Caherdaniel supply is on a night-time restriction from midnight until 6am.
- In Clare, there are restrictions from 10pm until 6am daily in Lahinch, Lisdoonvarna, Doolin, Liscannor, Ennistymon, Kilfenora, and surrounding group water supply schemes.
Further restrictions are either in place or planned for much of the rest of the country, with depleted reservoir levels giving major cause for concern.
The hosepipe ban prohibits its use to water gardens or fill paddling pools, clean cars or boats, or maintain ornamental ponds.
Irish Water said its primary concern is for longer term supplies in late summer and autumn.
Engineers Ireland said the current water shortages will continue to get much worse if key water supply projects are not delivered.
Director general Caroline Spillane said the Water Supply Project for the Eastern and Midlands Region, to source water from the River Shannon, was a “critical piece of infrastructure that needed to be delivered as soon as possible”.
Meanwhile, advisory firm IFAC warned the heatwave is costing an average dairy farmer €250 per day or €1,750 per week, between extra costs for feed because of poor grass growth and additional in-parlour feed costs, to maintain milk production.