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Irish Water issues stark warning to local householders

Friday, 14th September, 2018 12:41pm

Irish Water issues stark warning to local householders

Irish Water

Irish Water is warning of potential water restrictions in areas including Moate, Horseleap, Streamstown, Balllymore and Kilbeggan in the coming weeks 
The body said after the exceptionally dry summer, Lough Owel does not have sufficient storage to sustain a full water supply to the population dependent on it, over the coming months. 
As a result, Irish Water said it is is intensifying its First Fix Free Scheme to help tackle domestic leakage in Mullingar – up to 50,000 customers may be affected.
It said it was monitoring the situation at Lough Owel. A decision on the need for night-time restrictions will be made on the week commencing September 24.  
Irish Water said Lough Owel is a spring fed lake and any rain that falls takes a number of months to percolate through soils and bedrock before it gets to the lake. 
Even though there may be heavy rain on any given day, only the rain that falls on the lake, which is minimal, will have an immediate effect. 
To the end of August, Westmeath has received just 52% of expected rainfall for the year; this figure should have been 67% to ensure adequate replenishment of the Lough.
Such is the critical nature of the situation in Mullingar and surrounding areas, Irish Water will be carrying out an intensified campaign to promote their First Fix Free Scheme in the area. 
Letters will be sent to householders where a recent water meter reading indicates that there may be a leak their property. 
As part of the First Fix Free Scheme, Irish Water will offer these householders a free leak investigation. The main purpose of this investigation is to determine the location of the leak. If the leak is located on the supply pipe external to the house (i.e. it is not within or underneath the house), Irish Water will be able repair it free of charge under the scheme. There is more information available on the Scheme on Irish Water’s website: https://www.water.ie/for-home/first-fix/ Irish Water is also urging customers to make contact and report leaks on their properties.
Irish Water has also intensified work to find and fix leaks on the public network and said had found and fixed 208 leaks on the Mullingar Regional Water Supply Scheme so far this year.  It has also replaced a series of ageing water mains.
Commenting on the current situation, John O’Donoghue, Irish Water Head of Operations for the East and Midlands Region said: ‘‘It is very important that people are aware that they may face a restricted water supply over the coming weeks. Irish Water are working to try to  avoid having to introduce restrictions but it is looking likely that restrictions may be unavoidable in order to avoid widespread outages. 
The rainfall in August has simply not been sufficient after a dry winter combined with the exceptionally dry period over the summer. 
"We would need a persistent and ongoing spell of heavy rain in order to get the levels in Lough Owel back to where they would normally be for this time of the year."

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