Water fears see showers turned off at beaches

August 11th, 2022 11:55 AM

By Jackie Keogh

Showers are being shut off at beaches due to water level concerns.

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A REQUEST to improve beach amenities by providing people with showers received a setback at a meeting of the Western Division.

Instead of adding shower facilities so swimmers and surfers could wash off salt water before heading home in their cars, the Council indicated its decision to turn off existing showers at Inchydoney and The Warren.

The issue was raised by Cllr Paul Hayes (Ind) who said every effort should be made to enhance West Cork’s beaches as West Cork’s premier tourism destinations.

But the warm weather and reducing reservoir levels are being blamed for the decision.

Just last week, Irish Water issued an appeal to the people of Clonakilty to be mindful of their water consumption as increased temperatures and additional demand challenged the town’s water supply.

Over the coming weeks, it is feared that a protracted dry spell, as well as high demand during the tourism season, could result in drought-like difficulties.

In Clonakilty, there are concerns that the town – which has been contending with a lack of water to the extent that it is hindering the development of housing and commercial building projects – may face water restrictions.

Irish Water’s regional operations lead Niall O’Riordan asked the community of Clonakilty specifically to be mindful of their usage in order to help avoid the need to introduce water restrictions there.

Irish Water says it is monitoring water reservoirs across the entire supply system.

‘Many people will be outdoors a lot more, watering the garden or washing cars,’ said Mr O’Riordan. ‘We are just asking people to be sensible about how they use their water so that we have enough for everyone to use during the daytime and that the businesses can continue to operate as normal.’

Meanwhile, at a recent western committee meeting, Cllr Gillian Coughlan (FF) said she was aware that a new plan to supply water from Bandon to Clonakilty to address the long-term shortfall in the Clonakilty is being actively considered.

She asked if the plan to supplement Clonakilty’s with a top-up from the river in Bandon would have implications for Bandon.

The councillor also wanted to know if a limit would be placed on the amount of water that can be taken from the Bandon river.

She warned that there are occasions when the Bandon river ‘can get very low’.

‘We don’t want a situation where we are robbing Peter to pay Paul,’ she added.

County engineer Kevin Morey said the Council understood the critical need to ensure that the capacity at Bandon, and he said its growth potential would be ‘ring fenced.’

Supply is also running low in other towns. Dunmanway, for example, experienced night-time restrictions for two nights last weekend, while water reserves in Skibbereen, Bantry, Durrus, Goleen, Crookhaven, and Glengarriff are down too.

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