Water restrictions remain in place in parts of Kilkenny as plea made for people to conserve water

Irish Water 'considering all available legal options as last resort'

Kilkenny People

Reporter:

Kilkenny People

Email:

sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

Water

Water restrictions remain in place in parts of Kilkenny as demand for water continues to increase

Irish Water are advising customers that the Bennettsbridge Scheme in Kilkenny is to be placed on a further restriction from 10pm tonight (Friday) until 6am Monday morning as water demand in the area continues to be high.

Customers in the areas of Dunbell, Bishopslough, Stonecarty, Kells, Dunamaggin, Ballyhale and surrounding areas will be affected by the restrictions. The restrictions will be reviewed again on Monday. 

Irish Water has been working with Kilkenny County Council to explore all possible options to maximise the amount of water that can be abstracted from existing sources, but demand on the water supply is still exceeding production.

Supply Restoration

Customers in the majority of the scheme should have water back by 9am each morning but it may take longer for the water supply to be restored to customers on higher ground or at the edge of the network once the water supply is turned back on.

This action is being taken to ensure that the maximum quantity of raw water from the source is available to supply the area.

The timing of this restriction is designed to minimise the impact particularly on dairy and other farmers in the area. Irish Water has been in touch with farming organisations and will give what practical support they can to farmers who are in need.

Please Conserve Water

Irish Water is asking customers to conserve water for the foreseeable future particularly in the Inistioge and Bennettsbridge.

Irish Water is also encouraging customers in Clogh, Moneenroe and the general Castlecomer area to be frugal with their usage and to continue to conserve water when possible.

The current dry spell, high demand and leakage due to the age of the network are contributing to the reduced available supply of treated drinking water. In an effort to minimise interruptions, customers are being asked to conserve water by refraining from watering gardens, washing cars, using power hoses and minimising their use generally.

Irish Water and Kilkenny County council are actively working to fix leaks in the network and are looking at options to supplement the supply to the reservoirs over the coming weeks. However, Irish Water has warned that further restrictions may be necessary over the coming days and weeks in order to manage water levels in the network and ensure a water supply is maintained during high demand times. The company is reminding customers in the city and county to try and conserve as much water as possible, which will help the community at large.

Irish Water’s Drought Management Team continues to meet daily and is monitoring water supplies and demand around the country. This work is coordinated daily through our three regional teams and the 31 local authorities operating the system. Local authority crews have been on the ground managing supplies, trying to control pressures and in critical schemes managing restrictions on night use to try to protect critical day-time use. Crews are identifying and fixing leaks to try to take pressure of the system and Irish Water says it wants to recognise and acknowledge the efforts that are being made. Irish Water is working to mobilise additional resources for finding and repairing leaks in support of the local authority efforts.

"We continue to ask the public to notify us of leaks which we always follow up," said a statement from Irish Water.

"Public side leaks are dealt with in the first instance by the local authority teams. We have contractors available to assist with private side leaks under the ‘First Fix’ scheme. Where we cannot access private property to repair obvious leaks, we are committed to serving enforcement notices under the legislation to enable us to have these effectively addressed.

"Irish Water has also mobilised tankers across the country to fill reservoirs that are most at risk to protect water supplies and ensure customers have access to water. We are in touch with the farming organisations and offering assistance where water shortage is leading to animal welfare concerns. In critical situations we will accommodate farmers who need to collect water by tanker where it can be made available to meet urgent needs.

"As outlined, we recognise that the powers available to us to ban specific uses of water (non-essential uses) in the Water Services Acts will be needed to underpin the conservation objective. Irish Water will make and publicise a number of orders shortly which will designate activities which must be banned for a period while the supply remains critical. Ultimately, the objective of water saving and responsible water use must rely primarily on public cooperation. However, these drought orders will provide certain powers of enforcement to be used where necessary in support of the urgent need to preserve valuable and increasingly scarce water resources to meet essential social and economic needs.

"In many of our schemes, Irish Water’s primary concern is for longer term supplies in late summer and autumn. Based on modelling previous dry years, and allowing for how dry the ground now is, we need to maximise conservation of raw water at this time to secure our needs over the coming months. Therefore, these urgent conservation messages are of critical importance to communities who have marginal supply areas across the country.

Commenting on the ongoing situation, Irish Water’s Corporate Affairs Manager, Kate Gannon said:

“We are very grateful to the public and to businesses for all efforts to conserve water. We are very encouraged by the leadership shown by our large commercial users in their work to conserve water. Bus Éireann and Irish Rail have all committed to reducing the number of times they wash their fleets.

“Irish Water’s priority is to minimise the impact on homes and businesses, particularly during this period of holidays and high tourism.”

”Local authority crews supported by contractor resources are working to maximise water availability, though managing pressures to the minimum which avoids loss of supply. This work will continue and intensify in the months ahead.”

“We have a long way to go. If the drought is prolonged, water restrictions would become unavoidable if demand not drop towards normal levels. Every effort someone makes in their home or business impacts their neighbour and community. Irish Water have lots of tips for conserving water in the home, garden and business on water.ie.”

“Irish Water is working to support customers to conserve water in the first instance and we will take necessary legal measures available to us to ensure that we minimise risk of supply loss to businesses and communities.”