Irish Water has confirmed that it is “increasingly likely” that a water conservation order, or hosepipe ban, will be put in place in the near future.
The order will be implemented following increased demand for water and deteriorating drought conditions.
This announcement comes during a time when handwashing and hygiene remain critically important in the fight against COVID-19.
In recent weeks, the water utility company noticed a 20% increase in domestic water usage as more people were staying at home as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
Commercial demand has recently increased as businesses reopen and the recent warm weather and drought-like conditions have made the implementation of a hosepipe ban more likely.
Irish Water say that they have been carefully monitoring their raw water sources from lakes, springs, rivers and ground sources that feed into the treatment plants.
Of the 900 drinking water schemes, 16 are in drought currently while a further 38 are at risk of going into a drought.
In order to instigate a water conservation order, strict criteria must be met under the Water Services Act 2007. Irish Water needs to be able to demonstrate that ‘a serious deficiency of water available for distribution exists or is likely to exist’.
The company is gathering data and stated that if current trends continue, the likelihood is that a hosepipe ban will have to be imposed.
Irish Water is appealing to all customers to conserve water for essential use. Head of Customer Operations, Yvonne Harris, said that treatment plants are struggling to meet the increased demand and the amount they can produce is under threat.
“Imposing a water conservation order is not a measure that Irish Water wants to take but it is increasingly likely that we will have to do so. It is essential that our water supply is protected if we are to avoid restrictions and outages over the coming weeks and months.”
“On Saturday, it was warm and sunny in the Greater Dublin Area and Irish Water data shows that the demand on water exceeded all previous levels. The equivalent of water supply for an extra 200,000 people was used in one day in this area alone.”
“Safeguarding the supply of water is essential at this time when handwashing and hygiene is of critical importance. We are calling on everyone to play their part,” she concluded.