THE threat of drought is looming as the hot spell continues, with Irish Water set to extend the hosepipe ban nationally.
The ban was introduced in Dublin this morning in the wake of reducing capacity in rivers and reservoirs nationally, but Irish Water has said further bans will be introduced across the country this week.
Parts of east and north Cork are among those worst impacted, with Freemount, Ballyhooley, Kilbrin and Gortnaskethy, near Kilworth, all enduring supply shortages.
With the warm conditions expected to continue for the rest of the week at least, Irish Water has made an urgent appeal to the public to continue to conserve water.
Demand remains high but violating the hosepipe ban, which is due to remain in place until July 31, will result in a €125 fine and possible court prosecution for non-payment.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is imploring people to ‘do the right thing’ and respect the restrictions.
Mr Varadkar said the best approach was to ask people to “do the right thing and be good citizens”.
More than 100 water supplies are at risk throughout the country, 27 of which are in the south, including those in Cork.
Expectations that the hot weather would ease off were not realised with Met Éireann instead issuing a status yellow warning for high temperatures in Munster.
Cork is expected to stay warm and sunny for the coming days, with temperatures forecast to remain in the low to mid-20s all week.
Met Éireann has taken the unusual step of issuing a drought warning for the entire country.
“With little or no rain forecast for most areas over the coming week, drought or near-drought conditions are expected to develop more widely across Ireland,” it said.
A spokesperson for Irish Water said rainfall levels in recent months are on par with 1976 when a major drought took place.
“Irish Water is working with local authorities to do everything possible to conserve water availability, examining how we can make further inroads into leakage by mobilising extra crews and seeking maximum public cooperation in saving water.
“We now have 39 water supplies under night-time water restrictions and over 100 water supplies at risk due to high consumption. We are tankering water from larger schemes to top up reservoirs where levels are falling.”