September 25, 2020
News

Wicklow residents urged to conserve water as hosepipe ban comes into effect from tomorrow

Wicklow residents are banned from using hosepipes for the next six weeks as the country endures record drought levels.

Irish Water today confirmed a National Water Conservation Order – commonly referred to as a hosepipe ban – be in place from tomorrow, June 9 until Tuesday, July 21.

The band comes into effect as Met Eireann confirmed that last month was the driest since 1850. Their data shows that temperatures were above average in nearly all areas and rainfall totals in every county were below average for the season.

Since March, Irish Water has been carefully monitoring all its raw water sources, the water from lakes, rivers, springs and ground sources that feed our water treatment plants. Of Irish Water’s 900 drinking water schemes, 27 currently are in drought and 50 are at risk of going into drought. The weather forecast is for a continuation of drier than normal conditions which will further exacerbate the situation.

Four weeks ago, Irish Water urged the public to choose handwashing over power washing as domestic water usage increased as people stayed at home in response to the Covid-19 crisis. Now, the increased domestic demand and increase in commercial demand as businesses are reopening is being exacerbated by warm weather and the widespread emergence of drought conditions.

The Water Conservation Order has been issued in a bid to safeguard water supplies for essential purposes. Advertisements will appear in the national papers today (Monday 8 June) in line with statutory requirements outlining the prohibition of the use of garden hoses and other non-essential uses of water.

The Conservation Order prohibits the use of garden hosepipes and other non-essential uses of water by domestic users and commercial premises for non-commercial activities for example watering gardens attached to a business premises.

Irish Water Managing Director Niall Gleeson said: “Irish Water’s top priority during the current dry period is to protect our water supply for use in homes and businesses and for essential sanitation during the Covid-19 crisis. As demand continues to outstrip supply and the dry weather looks set to continue, Irish Water has taken the extra step of implementing a Water Conservation Order.

“Irish Water will continue to analyse water consumption levels nationally while the National Water Conservation Order is in place. It is essential that our water supply is protected if we are to avoid restrictions and outages over the coming weeks and months.

“During this time we are supporting and advising our commercial large water users on their conservation efforts and we are grateful for all of the measures they have taken so far. We are also working with our local authority partners and others to ramp up leak detection and repair, particularly in water stressed areas.

“There are lots of helpful tips for conserving water on water.ie but the key messages are to leave the hose and the pressure washer in the shed; don’t use paddling pools; reuse household water for the garden; and take shorter showers. Safeguarding the supply of water is essential at this time when handwashing and hygiene is of critical importance. We are calling on everyone to play their part.”

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