Heatwave in Ireland: Public urged to use water responsibly during hot weather

Drinking water sources are dropping and demand is increasing during the current hot spell
Heatwave in Ireland: Public urged to use water responsibly during hot weather

Vivienne Clarke

The public should use water responsibly during the current heatwave as the hot weather conditions could lead to shortages, Irish Water has said.

The utility company’s head of operations, Tom Cuddy, told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that “some modest interventions” were being undertaken as drinking water sources were dropping and demand was increasing.

The interventions were having little impact on customers as they involved tankers bringing water to reservoirs and cross connecting on water schemes.

“With the hot spell coming we are encouraging people to use water responsibly,” he said.

The more the public helped, the better the situation would be, he said as demand tended to peak during hot weather. If people use excess water then they are going to make the situation challenging for themselves, for their neighbours and for their community.

Demand was likely to be high in resort areas, where sometimes the population doubles during the holidays and also at festivals and due to agricultural demand.

With private wells also drying up the situation could escalate in agricultural areas, Mr Cuddy warned.

The public could help by monitoring the running of taps, reducing the duration of showers, less flushing of toilets, using dishwashers and washing machines only when there are full loads and by reusing water from the kitchen in the garden.

He also urged people to check for leaks and highlighted Irish Water's "first fix free" scheme. One hundred leaks continued to be discovered every week and €100 million was spent every year on leak repairs, he said.

The figures were continuing to decrease and the level of leaks had diminished from 46 per cent five years ago to an average of 35 per cent at present.

Ireland will see temperatures in the high 20s later this week and could reach official heatwave criteria by Friday, Met Éireann forecasters have said.

Scientists warn that the likelihood of droughts occurring is becoming higher due to climate change, driven by greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels and other human activities.

Climate change is also making heatwaves more intense, frequent and likely.

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