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Newstalk

10.01 5 Mar 2018


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10,0000 households around the country are without water this morning following the disruption caused by last week’s heavy snows.

More than 120,000 others still have restricted supplies due to low levels in reservoirs.

Irish Water has said it is watching demand carefully after an extra 60 million litres a day was used during the weekend.

The utility said demand increased by up to 20% as the thaw took hold.

 

Irish Water general manager Eamon Gallen told Newstalk Breakfast that the outages are located in “Wexford, Cork, Laois, Kerry and Tipperary.”

Further water restrictions could be on the way as reservoir levels remain low

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“The restrictions are right across the country,” he said. “East Meath, Longford, Leitrim, Galway, Westmeath, Kerry, Waterford, Cork, Kildare and other places.”

“In addition, we also have 3,000 people on storm-related boil water notices.

“The majority of those are in Aughrim and the remainder are mainly on small schemes in Waterford.”

Dublin restrictions

File photo of the Poulaphouca Reservoir. Image: Mark Stedman/RollingNews

He said the utility still has “severe concerns about the greater Dublin area” and warned the capital could be facing the prospect of night-time restrictions.

He said the area “saw an increase of 10% in demand from Friday to Sunday.”

“At the moment, despite having our plants working at peak output, storage is significantly depleted,” he said.

“If demand doesn’t drop we will have to consider options including reducing pressure at night to give reservoirs a chance to refill.”

Running taps

The depleted reservoir levels around the country are partly due to households and businesses that decided to leave taps running to prevent pipes from freezing.

Irish Water is warning not to leave anything running during periods of cold weather and Mr Gallen noted that “it affects everybody if you leave it run.”

He said running taps “draws down all the water obviously straight away” adding that it also makes it difficult to tell where there are leaks in the system.

“I think it is something we were thought as we grew up; ‘leave a tap running and it won’t freeze,’” he said.

“Things have moved on and pipes are generally that much deeper under-ground; once they are under two feet you are generally fine.”

He said people need to “understand that this is not the thing to do.”

“The water network has improved and people’s connections are generally from the mains into their house; they are generally buried deep enough,” he said.

Irish Water has warned that the cold snap has led to thousands of small leaks which will need to be found and repaired over the months ahead.


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