Westmeath County Council is appealing to the public to preserve water as best they can, as they continue to ration water in Mullingar and surrounding areas.
Water supplies have been suspended nightly in most areas in Mullingar town and the hinterlands since the beginning of the new year, and the situation is expected to continue for as long as the current cold snap persists.
The water shortage initially occurred due to the plunging temperatures on Lough Owel which supplies the water reservoir, and higher than normal leakage from the public water system as a result of burst pipes.
However, it also emerged earlier this week that consumption of water had greatly increased due to householders leaving taps running overnight out of fear of their pipes freezing.
For the foreseeable future, Westmeath County Council is advising that water supplies are to be turned off from 8pm in the evening until 7am the following morning, in an effort to re-supply and recharge the county’s reservoir systems.
It confirmed, however, that in the last two days reservoir levels have risen and are stabilising gradually, thanks in part to the continued co-operation of the public.
Members of the public are being advised that excessive water usage will give rise to water shortages. On the other hand, minimising water demand in the home, business and around the farm will ensure that water outages can be avoided.
Several other measures can be employed to conserve water, including ensuring taps are not left running or dripping; vacant properties are checked for leaks or bursts and repairs carried out where necessary; businesses, offices or schools that may have been closed for the holidays are checked out; and outhouses, field pipes and troughs etc are checked and leaks or bursts repaired.
Businesses which require water critical to their operation or production process should be aware that there may be disruption to the water supply over the next two weeks and should check their systems for adequate storage.
Several housing estates in Mullingar are experiencing particular difficulties, and the council has provided standpipes to enable water to be sourced by residents. These areas have low water pressure and the current situation has exacerbated the problem.
Regular updates will be posted online at www.westmeathcoco.ie Phones are manned from 9am to 5pm each day and emergency numbers are available after hours by phoning (044 ) 9332000