As the dry spell in Ireland continues on with no sign of halting, county council officials have extended water rationing to many areas in the south-west of Ireland.
Officials in both counties Cork and Kerry confirmed yesterday that water main schemes will be shut off at night, particularly if homeowners continue to waste water.
Since the heatwave has rolled through, water consumption levels in North and West Cork have increased by 15% on average. Additionally, schemes in Kerry have seen increased demands between 10% and 20%, reports the Irish Examiner.
Pat Walsh, senior engineer in charge of water services in the North Cork council division said that supply was becoming problematic, especially on smaller schemes which are already at full capacity.
Walsh attributes part of the increase in consumption to things like garden hoses and sprinklers, or setting up things like water slides for children in an effort to beat the heat. He encourages people to refrain from using water this way, considering that they “just can’t meet that kind of demand.”
“If consumption continues to grow, it will be a major challenge for us.”
He says that water supplies in Mitchelstown and Doneraile areas may shortly find themselves cut off at nighttime. This follows restrictions in place in Bantry, Clonakilty, and surrounding areas.
Due to the increase in demand for water combined with ageing mains, there have been breakages in a handful of locations. Ballyhooly and Kildorrey were without water last weekend as a result of such breakages.
Mr. Walsh and outdoor council workers restored water after a well that supplied 30 homes in Fermoy dried up. Councilors Noel McCarthy and Frank O’Flynn said that council engineers drilled a new well, which restored normal supply within a week.
Yesterday in Kerry, a warning was given that rivers and lakes used for drinking water could potentially run dry, prompting the county’s environmental services director Oliver Ring to implore people to conserve water.
Though even conservation and restrictions placed on the water consumption levels may not prove to be enough, as Ring adds that if the drought conditions continue for much longer, “it is likely that some of [the] water sources will begin to dry up” meaning that with a drop in lake and river levels, “eventually ground water supplies would diminish.”
Ring concludes by assuring the people that they “will continue to monitor the situation closely and [they] will take action in good time if necessary.”