Cold snap causes Irish water shortages

A surge in demand for water following a spate of burst pipes and leaks in the wake of the cold weather has left parts of Ireland short of the vital resource.

While the worst of the weather is behind us, many local authorities are urging residents to continue to conserve water to allow depleted reservoirs to refill.

By the end of play Friday, Limerick was back on an even keel with demand back in balance with production following days of shortages.

Water has now been fully restored to most parts of the county, although isolated individual housing estates and areas are continuing to experience low water pressure.

The local authority has warned that reduced water pressure and occasional shut-offs of water supplies can be expected at various locations throughout the County in the coming days.

Donal Brennan, senior engineer, Limerick County Council said: “Over the coming weeks, the Council will continue to tackle remaining bursts and leaks in order to minimise wastage of water.

“The repair of bursts will require short term water outages in the vicinity of the repair.

“Water levels in service/distribution reservoirs remain low and consumers are requested to continue to conserve water”.

Meanwhile, Shannon has had water outages after repairs were needed to a large water main supplying the County Clare town.

Parts of the town have been relying on stand pipes while the county council aims to aid the replenishment of the reservoir that serves the town.

The Council said shut-offs would be necessary overnight on Sunday and during Monday afternoon to allow repairs to be affected.

Sean Ward, senior engineer, said: “The shut-offs are necessary to allow the Clonmoney reservoir [time to refill].

“It receives treated drinking water from the Castle Lake water treatment works near Kilmurry, which supplies water to Shannon and several surrounding areas.

“Since the recent long cold spell started in December 2009 the demand for water has increased by more than 20%, and the Castle Lake treatment plant, even using spare capacity, has not been able to keep up with the increased demand.

“As a result the reservoirs at Moygalla and Clonmoney reached critically low levels in early January. Clare County Council has had to reduce the demand by a combination of shut-offs of supply, and finding and repairing leaks.”

He continued: “The council will continue to work on locating and repairing leaks, and to reviewing the shut-offs daily depending on the level in the Clonmoney reservoir each morning. We also ask people to continue to report leaks, and to conserve water as much as possible.”

Meanwhile, water restrictions in various locations throughout County Clare will remain in place until further notice. The council says the shut offs and restrictions are essential for water conservation.

Sam Bond

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