Dublin is using more water than it can 'sustainably produce,' Uisce Éireann has warned.
An average of 628 million litres of water is now being used every day in the greater Dublin region – 13 more than the utility is capable of producing.
Uisce Éireann is asking Dubliners to do everything they can to conserve water.
It comes after the recent cold weather led to a surge in burst water pipes a drove demand to critical levels.
Meanwhile, Uisce Éireann said it has been forced to cancel upgrading works within the Irish water system in recent months in order to focus on meeting demand.
Uisce Éireann spokesperson Angela Ryan, told The Pat Kenny Show today that recent weather factors have exacerbated the situation.
“Industrial output is very, very high and coupled with that, we did have a period of cold weather over the last couple weeks," she said.
“We’ve had high demand since last November but the cold weather snap increased leakage slightly and that has exacerbated problems with demand.
“The economy right now is also at full tilt and there is full employment across the region,” she said.
Ms Ryan said water usage is at record levels.
“Over the past week, the demand for water has been about 628 million litres per day,” she said.
“We can sustainably produce about 615 million litres within the region so we are actually using more water than we can produce in our water treatment plants.
“This means that our critical storage reduces across the region and, to prevent large-scale outages, we’ve had to put in place minor water outages across the region.”
The Dublin water supply’s reliance on the River Liffey makes it particularly susceptible to shortages, according to Ms Ryan.
“We have a very high dependency on a single water body,” she said.
“85% of the supply comes from the River Liffey which is a relatively small river.
“The catchment area to collect that rainwater for the river is very small – it covers about half of a percent of the landmass.”
A controversial project that would take some water from the River Shannon to supply Dublin with water is being considered as a solution, according to Ms Ryan.
“We never proposed that Dublin would be entirely watered by the River Shannon – just about 2% of the average flow,” she said.
“It’s like taking a tablespoon of water from a pint glass, you would not notice that amount of water being taken."
Uisce Éireann recommends taking a shower instead of a bath to save water, preferably a short shower which can save ten litres of water a minute.
They also said fixing leaks can be an effective way to conserve water at home.
Main image: Vartry Reservoir in Wicklow. Image: Peter Titmuss / Alamy Stock Photo