Thousands of Mayo people endured hardship during the Christmas period, having no water on account of frozen pipes and then burst water pipes, according to Fine Gael councillor Michelle Mulherin, who stated this week that water infrastructure in the county is clearly inadequate.
“Many shops, restaurants including some hotels in towns were also forced to try to keep their businesses running without a mains water supply,” she added. “The problem of no water began to reach epidemic proportions as more and more leaks developed causing water reservoirs to diminish, leaving even people without burst or frozen waterpipes with little or no water.
“A lot of this misery was unnecessary. The number of water pipes which are just buried under the surface of the ground with little or no protection from the harsh temperatures is unbelievable. It is clear that no uniform standards have been employed in the laying of water pipes and that there has been some very shoddy workmanship in places and very little, if any, supervision of work. Even in some housing estates it was a common scenario to find one semi-detached with water and the adjoining house without water.
“Council workers and emergency services should be given great credit for the Trojan work they have been carrying out giving up their Christmas locating and fixing leaks, and all this after they have battled to keep main roads passable with dwindling salt supplies. Unfortunately the reality is in many cases if water pipes were properly laid a lot of this could have been avoided.”
Cllr Mulherin is to table a motion on the issue at next Monday’s January meeting of Mayo County Council to the effect that the council in its capacity as sanitary authority charged with delivery of water services to the county, should immediately set about tackling the inadequacies in water systems.
“In particular I am seeking to have the council appoint a clerk of works to ensure connections to the public mains by businesses and private houses are to satisfactory standards. This council cannot afford the massive loss of treated water nor should the county be brought to its knees in this way owing to a lack of water caused by poor engineering standards,” she said.
Meanwhile Mayo County Council has issued an appeal to the public to conserve water and to avoid using water unnecessarily.
A statement issued by the council read: “As a result of the thaw following the recent extremely cold weather water consumption is at a record high throughout the county. This is due to burst water mains, leaks in houses and business premises. Water supplies remain under pressure due to the high number of taps which people have left running to avoid freezing pipes. These must be turned off immediately. All leaks in houses and business premises must also be fixed immediately in order to avoid disconnection. Any person wasting water risks leaving other members of the public without a supply.
“In order to protect supplies water will be rationed at various times throughout the county. Details will be posted on the council's web site at www.mayococo.ie “The situation is particularly serious in Achill and Bangor where council staff are working with the public to reduce wastage of water. Mayo County Council wishes to thank the public for their cooperation and wishes to apologise for any inconvenience caused.”