Paddling pools, garden hoses and long showers under the spotlight as dry spell persists
IRISH Water has given us two weeks to ditch the paddling pools, swap the hosepipe for the watering can, and take shorter showers – or outages and restrictions may be imposed.
The utility first flagged a shortage in mid-May, by which time the Clonakilty Regional Water Supply, which services a population of around 14,700, was already under pressure.
However, as of this week, West Cork, and the rest of the country, needs the equivalent of six months’ rainfall, to replenish ground water sources, after some of the driest 12 weeks on record.
Going by the long-term forecast, that’s not looking likely, so Irish Water has now appealed to the public to help conserve supplies which are at critically low levels.
Of Irish Water’s 900 drinking water schemes, 16 currently are in drought, including Kishkeam in North Cork and Robert’s Cove, around 13 miles from Kinsale.
A spokesperson said: ‘The population of both areas is quite small so water tankering takes place to ensure Water supply is maintained. Robert’s Cove has had these issues in the past few years, so a long-term solution is being sought for both schemes and this is currently being examined.’ Some 38 more schemes are at risk of going into drought, and while none are in Cork, the list is constantly reviewed.
It has confirmed that it is ‘increasingly likely’ that a water conservation order, more commonly known as a ‘hosepipe ban’, will have to be put in place in a fortnight’s time.
Irish Water operations lead Neil Smyth further warned that it was essential that supplies are protected if we are to avoid restrictions and outages over the coming weeks and months.
The dry weather, combined with people consuming more water while at home during the Covid-19 crisis, has prompted the warning.
And now with an increase in commercial demand as businesses are reopening, the situation is getting even more critical.
Neil Smyth said: ‘A drought means that the water sources like rivers, lakes, springs and ground water that supply the treatment plants are struggling, so at a time when all of the water we produce is being used, the amount we can produce is under threat in several areas around Cork.
‘It is essential that our water supply is protected if we are to avoid restrictions and outages over the coming weeks and months. Safeguarding the supply of water is essential at this time when hand washing and hygiene is of critical importance. We are calling on everyone to play their part.’