THE unprecedented demand on the Kilkenny water services has led the council to consider introducing water rationing in order to replenish the reservoirs.
The Director of Services Philip O'Neill for Kilkenny County Council said that consumption of water was up by almost 50% due to the number of leaks and burst pipes that had occurred since the thaw set in.
The council has had four crews on call full time repairing the burst water mains but despite their efforts some parts of the city remain without water. The areas affected are mainly the elevated areas of the city, which have been hit due to the lack pressure in the water mains. The whole of south Kilkenny is also suffering from low water pressure.
The council expect that it will take at least another two days before the problems will be resolved. They haven't ruled out introducing nigh time water rationing to help refill some of the critically low water reservoirs.
Ann and Liam Tyrrell from Danesfort found themselves without water on the 27th when the Outrath reservoir ran out of water. The Outrath reservoir provides water to Firhouse and Rathclough. The council are shipping water in tankers to help refill the reservoir.
While collecting water at the Watershed the Tyrrell's said they were more than happy with the council's efforts to get water back in to their taps. "They are trying their best to do what they can and in the mean time its the hotel for showering.," said Ann Tyrrell. "It must be very difficult for elderly people or people with young families," she added.
Another resident from Clongowen on the Waterford road, who didn't want to be named said that he hadn't had water for four or five days. "You'd think they'd have it sorted by now, but then again that's Ireland for you," he said.
Mr O'Neill said that the Severe Weather Emergency Group headed up by City Manager Joe Crockett had been called in to tackle the growing water crisis.
A control centre has been established by the council to deal with queries from the public. It's open daily from 10am to 5pm. In total the council have had about 70 people active over the Christmas period to deal with water issues alone.
One of the largest leaks occurred on Patrick Street on St Steven's day and had it not been quickly attended to the whole of the city centre would be with out water. Other major leaks that have been identified and fixed were in Graignamanagh, two in Ballyragget, a major leak on Bridge Street in Callan.
Mr O'Neill said the Kilkenny City Borough Staff and the housing crews had been working throughout the county over the holidays in an attempt to restore water supply to homes and businesses.
The council are providing emergency water access at a number of stand pipes through out the county. In Kilkenny city water is available at Gaol Road - adjacent to the Ciniplex Cinema, Outside No 53/54 the Sycamores, Outside No 39 Shandon Park, Loughboy - Watershed car park, Glendine Heights and Dean Street (at Gauls Butcher). In Ferrybank water is available at Abbey Park Fairways Estate.