Water nightmare in Moate as supplies are hit for third day running

Residents in Moate and other areas of Westmeath are grappling with a third day of water supply outages as the county bakes under an orange-level high temperature warning.

The prolonged supply interruptions, caused by a series of pipe bursts near Bunbrosna, Mullingar, have forced a number of cafes and other businesses to close.

Buckley's SuperValu, on Moate's Main Street, ran out of bottled water yesterday (Wednesday) evening, but supplies to the town's supermarket have since been replenished.

Water tanks have been put in place as a stopgap measure at a number of locations including Moate Community School, Ballymore Church and Moyvore National School.

In a statement a short time ago, Irish Water said the areas affected by the current outage were Ballynacarrigy, Moyvore, Ballymore, Moyvoughley, Moate and Kilgawny, Rathconrath and surrounds.

A spokesperson said crews had been working since Tuesday to repair bursts that happened "one after the other" in the same general area.

"Two major repairs occurred on Tuesday, two on Wednesday and one repair is currently underway today, Thursday, in the same area," said Irish Water.

"It is anticipated that the repair will be completed by 6.30pm today and water supply should be restored to all customers up to three hours (after) the repair being completed."

Speaking to the Westmeath Independent at lunchtime, local councillor Vinny McCormack said that, having recently spoken to some of the crew working on the pipe burst, he was hopeful it would be fixed well before 6.30pm.

He said the most recent burst happened in the same spot as one that had just been fixed yesterday.

"They carried out the repairs yesterday and then it burst again," said Cllr McCormack.

"They were trying to push through a large volume of water, which put pressure on the pipe, to try to get supply to everyone as quickly as possible.

"They're probably going to reduce the pressure slightly on it when they're pushing the water back through this time, just to make sure they don't cause another bust anywhere along the line."

He explained that some additional houses in Moate, which hadn't been affected before, had seen their water supply cut off today.

"There's basically two (water) systems in Moate. Some of the town is fed directly from the mains, and other houses then are fed from a reservoir on the Dublin Road.

"What's happened this morning is that the reservoir has run out of water, so that's affecting additional houses in Moate. It will take a little bit longer for that reservoir to replenish and get supply to those houses as well."

He said the newly-affected houses, supplied by the reservoir, were on the 'Dublin side' of Moate, in areas like the Clara Road, and Carton Grange.

Cllr McCormack acknowledged how difficult the last few days had been for local residents.

"It's absolutely terrible, especially given the weather conditions. It all comes back to the fact that the pipes in those areas need to be upgraded. Some of them have been in the ground for 20-25 years.

"Where these incidents have occurred, some of the pipes have been sitting on rocks, which wouldn't be best practice in terms of the placing of water pipes."

One person in Moate who emailed the Westmeath Independent this morning said the last few days had been "hell" as a result of the water outage.

"For the third day in row, on the hottest days of the year, I could not have a shower," wrote the Ard Grainne resident.

"Water was supposed to be back last night, but only mud came in for an hour. Out again since this morning. July 2021: Real Hell in Moate."

Caroline Cashen of Buckley's SuperValu in Moate said it had seen a massive demand for bottled water, which sold out yesterday evening, but was restocked in the Main Street store this morning.

"People were buying it up when it was coming in, before it even got to the shelves," Caroline told us.

The Tuar Ard Coffee Shop, among other businesses, again had to close today as a result of not having a water supply.

Irish Water said in its statement that it, "has provided alternative water supplies at Moate Community School, Ballymore Church and Moyvore National School," however it recommended that the water from these tankers should be boiled before use, as a precaution.

Commenting on the repair works, John Gavin, Regional Lead with Irish Water said: "The repairs are being conducted as quickly and as safely as possible to minimise disruption for customers in Ballynacarrigy, Moyvore, Ballymore, Moyvoughley, Moate and Kilgawny, Rathconrath and restore water for impacted customers.

"We understand the inconvenience unplanned outages can have on customers and we appreciate your patience as we work to return the water supply to homes and businesses as quickly as possible."