Great water efficiency is needed to help a system that is under “high strain”, the National Water Forum has warned.
The statutory body advises the Government on water policy and management issues and has raised concerns that - even in a country as famously wet as Ireland - there is more and more pressure on the water supply.
“Our population is increasing,” Chairperson Matthew Crowe told Newstalk Breakfast.
“We’re up to one million - possibly even more - additional people in Ireland.
“That’s quite different in terms of the trends of other European countries.
“The second thing is, with climate change, we may actually have less water available in the future than we currently have - particularly during the summer months.
“The third reason is, there’s already a high strain on Ireland’s water supply infrastructure.
“So, you put those three things together and what the National Water Forum is saying is that we just need to have a much stronger focus on water conservation, particularly for long-term planning purposes.”
Chief among the body’s suggestions is greater water efficiency standards for new builds - something Dr Crowe described as not “rocket science”.
“If there was one thing that we’d like to see happening, it’s to have new building standards put in place for all new builds,” he said.
“With the plans for 300,000 new houses - and possibly even more - to be built in Ireland, if we could get much higher standards for water efficiency in any new houses that are built in Ireland that would be brilliant.”
Dr Crowe compared it to the drive to increase energy standards and said the board was “pushing a partially open door” on the issue.
A policy paper has been put together and a meeting is due to take place with Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien later this summer.
Ireland is currently experiencing an absolute drought - defined as 15 days with very low levels of rainfall - and restrictions have been put in place in the towns of Clonakilty, in County Cork and Cashel in County Tipperary.
Main image: A woman takes a shower.