TANKERS had to be ferried to Dunmanway hospital during the heatwave at the weekend.
The emergency measure was necessary because there were five water breaks in the town from Friday afternoon to Sunday, which left Dunmanway’s reservoir completely depleted of water.
Repairs were completed on Saturday afternoon, but it was midday on Monday before water returned to all areas due to airlocks in the system.
The outages caused a run on bottled water and some local shops sold out over the three-day period.
Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind) requested the suspension of standing orders at the Council’s Western Division meeting on Monday to discuss the matter.
Although the Council cannot comment on issues relating to Irish Water, because it is a separate service, Cllr Hurley used the meeting as ‘a platform’ to express his anger and the community’s anger.
Cllr Deirdre Kelly (FF) said the first break happened at 2pm on Friday and tankers from Ballineen were still drawing water to the town at 10pm on Sunday night.
‘Five breaks with temperatures in the mid to high 20’s and the elderly in the community hospital suffering from heat stress,’ was how Cllr Hurley depicted the situation. Livestock too were left without water, and Cllr Kelly said that when the water was turned back on it had a foul odour, was brown in colour, and was not fit for human consumption.
A local pet shop recorded casualties too: 20 fish died because of the higher-than-normal chlorine levels being added to the water.
‘Irish Water is holding our town to ransom,’ Cllr Hurley stated, ‘and the updates from Irish Water over the weekend were an absolute joke.’
Irish Water said the repairs were ‘very challenging as the raw water main crosses difficult terrain.’
Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) said businesses in Newtown in Bantry were recently left without water due to a break and the reply to his question came five days later via email. The so-called ‘special’ number given to councillors doesn’t work, according to Cllr Joe Carroll (FF). Cllr Hayes said the situation caused havoc for residents and business at the height of the summer, during a pandemic, and a heatwave.
Cllr Hurley called on Irish Water to provide them with a report on the town’s infrastructure and what needs to be done to fix it.
Divisional county manager Clodagh Henehan said the Council would use its line of communication with Irish Water to outline the concerns of the residents.