Irish Water issues nationwide hosepipe ban in south as drought continues

The hosepipe ban
The hosepipe ban

Irish Water issues a National Water Conservation Order - commonly referred to a hosepipe ban- in the south for all domestic water supplies and commercial premises for non-commercial activities.

ofrom 8am on Friday, July 6 until midnight on Tuesday, July 31 as a drought continues across the country.

The ban will begin this Friday, July 6 and continue until midnight on Tuesday, July 31, as a drought continues across the country.

The scope of this Order is the same as the one applied to the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) on Monday, July 2.Irish Water said it may review the scope of both over the coming weeks and added that the order has been issued due to the continued drought conditions and to help protect water supplies now and over the coming months. Met Éireann has advised that there has been little or no rain over the last 30 days and predictions show no significant rainfall is likely for at least a further week, meaning deepening drought conditions.

High levels of sunlight means significant evaporation levels on water sources. The average soil moisture deficit is currently 60mm nationally which means even if it did rain, no water would reach water sources as it would be absorbed by the ground. The continuation of these drought conditions nationally is putting pressure on water sources as rivers, lakes and groundwater levels drop.

On average, demand across all water resources nationally has increased by 15%, and given the environmental pressures on the aquifers and waterbodies, this cannot be sustained for any period of time. Due to soil moisture conditions, smaller groundwater sites in particular may take many months to recover. The National Water Conservation Order has the potential to suppress any non-essential increases in demand during this period, and prevent increased abstraction at a time when the raw water sources are least able to support these volumes.

Irish Water thanked the public for their conservation efforts to date and continue to encourage and support the public in their efforts to reduce usage. It added it is grateful for all measures that have been taken in homes and businesses.

Irish Water said its top priority during the current dry period is to protect water supply for use in homes and businesses in the coming weeks and months.

In a statement, it said: “As demand continues to outstrip supply and the warm weather looks set to continue, Irish Water has taken the extra step to use the legal options open to us. Section 56 (16) of the Water Services Act 2007 allows for an effective ‘hosepipe ban’.”

The Water Conservation Order (hosepipe ban) will be in place until midnight on Tuesday, 31 July for domestic users and for non-commercial use by commercial bodies. Irish Water will keep the situation under review and may have to extend the period of time the order is in place.

The prohibited uses are as follows:Use of water drawn through a hosepipe or similar apparatus for the purpose of :watering a garden; cleaning a private motor-vehicle using a domestic hosepipe; cleaning a private leisure boat; filling or maintaining a domestic swimming or paddling pool (except when using hand held containers filled directly from a tap); filling or maintaining a domestic pond (excluding fish ponds); filling or maintaining an ornamental fountain (with the exception of such use for commercial purposes); filling or replenishing an artificial pond, lake or similar application.

The Irish Water Conservation Order (hosepipe ban) does not apply to private wells or private group water schemes. Working with the National Federation of Group Water Schemes Irish Water urged all water users to conserve water during this drought period and over the coming months to protect all water supplies.

Speaking about the legal move, Irish Water’s Corporate Affairs Manager Kate Gannon said: “Imposing a national Water Conservation Order (hosepipe ban) reflects the serious need for water conservation now and over the coming months. It is essential that our water supply resources are conserved to help avoid further restrictions and outages over the coming weeks and months.

“We are really grateful for the measures that people have taken to conserve water so far and we hope that placing a Water Conservation Order (hosepipe ban) will make people more mindful of their responsibilities and the impact their water usage is having on their neighbours and communities.

“Irish Water is mindful of the impact that a Water Conservation Order might have on businesses and the tourist industry and for that reason the prohibition is mainly limited to domestic users but does include commercial premises for non-commercial activities e.g. watering gardens attached to a business premises.

“The utility continues to be in touch with large commercial users who have committed to conserving water and we are very grateful to them for their efforts. We are also appealing to them to limit all non-essential water use and to avoid using hosepipes or power washers where possible, particularly if it is for cosmetic reasons.”