Galway is expected to be hit with a hosepipe ban as drought takes hold over parts of the city and county. News of the proposed ban comes after night time restrictions were enforced on many parts of the city and county during the week because of the hot weather and lack of rainfall in recent weeks.
A spokesperson for Irish Water said the decision to extend the hosepipe ban beyond the Greater Dublin area to Galway could come within the next 24 hours. "The hosepipe ban for Galway may come into effect today or tomorrow as the unprecedented dry weather continues," the spokesperson said. "Many areas are experiencing water shortages due to the increased consumption of water, a lack of rainfall, as well as the temperature causing water to evaporate. The situation is a very serious one concerning our reservoir levels for August and September. Based on modelling in previous dry years, and allowing for how dry the ground now is, we need to maximise conservation of raw water at this time to secure our needs over the coming months.
"Many water treatment plants are operating at full capacity throughout the city and county and reservoir level are now a major concern. We are asking members of the public to continue conserving water in every way possible as the weather conditions remain warm and the drought is increasingly reducing water levels in rivers, lakes, and boreholes. As a result production at water treatment plants is struggling to meet increasing demand."
Both the Galway city and county councils have said they will continue to monitor the situation and wait for directions from Irish Water before deciding what course of action is to be taken.
What does a hosepipe ban entail?
At present the hosepipe ban would be limited to domestic use only. Therefore commercial premises such as car washes and launderettes will be exempt under the proposed ban. The spokesperson said; “At present if the ban is to be applied it will be only for domestic use of water. Businesses which may need to use a large amount of water will not be included. Local authorities which may have to water parks and gardens are also not included but Irish Water will be liaising with councils to update them on the situation.”
Anyone caught breaking the hosepipe ban is liable to be fined a total of €125. However Irish Water was quick to allay fears that homeowners would not be able to water their flowers and lawn. “The ban is for hosepipes only as they use an exceedingly high volume of water. Residents are free to water their plants using jugs and buckets as they are much more efficient. We would advise people to collect water from the showers they taken as well as water from their washing machines to water their gardens in an attempt to save as much water as possible.
Where have restrictions have been enforced so far?
Throughout the city and county there have been night time restrictions have been effected. In Galway city, areas supplied by Tonabrocky reservoir have seen the water supply restricted at night time between the hours of 11pm and 7am.
Residents in Barna, Moycullen, Knocknacarra, Kingston, Taylor’s Hill, Letteragh Road, Bishop O’Donnell Road, Clybaun Road, Cappagh Road, Ballymoneen Road (areas north of Western Distributor Road ) may experience low pressure and reduced flow at night time.
According to Irish Water these restrictions are essential to allow the Tonabrocky reservoir storage levels to recover and will remain in place at night time until further notice. One of the worst affected areas in the county is the Aran Islands where nighttime restrictions are in place on Inis Mór from 10pm to 7am.
Water usage on the island has increased by 30 per cent in the past 21 days and reservoir levels are giving cause for very serious concern. Water restrictions have also been placed on Inis Oirr and will continue nightly from 11pm to 7am.
In east Galway, the Ballinasloe Water Treatment Plant is operating at full capacity and reservoir levels are giving major cause for concern with supplementary pumps have been deployed due to low water in the River Suck (600mm ). West Galway has seen restrictions placed on the Ballyconneely Water Treatment Plant from 11pm and 7am.