WATER CONSERVATION – A MESSAGE FROM IRISH WATER
• Water treatment plants are already working to their maximum capacity.
• Domestic demand has increased as people stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Irish Water is urging the public to prioritise handwashing over powerwashing.
• It is important that non-essential use of water is avoided to ensure there is supply available for all for essential health and hygiene use.
• Together we can meet the increased demands on our network when restrictions are relaxed for businesses.
Why is Irish Water asking the public to conserve water now?
• Water treatment plants are working to their maximum capacity.
• With people adhering to government advice and staying at home since mid-March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant increase in household water usage.
• New domestic metering data has revealed that households are using an additional 24 litres of water per person per day, a 20% increase from February.
• This is in line with data from UK water utilities who have reported an increase of 27 litres per person per day.
Is water not being saved by businesses being temporarily closed?
• Non-domestic water usage has decreased with many businesses, schools, colleges, gyms, hotels, bars and restaurants temporarily closed.
• This has helped to off-set some of the domestic demand. However, as domestic demand represents two thirds of Irish Water’s business, its supply is still under pressure.
• Commercial use of water only accounts for one third of Irish Water supplies.
• When government restrictions are lifted, many commercial premises will need to use extra water to clean and flush their plumbing systems and storage tanks or to complete deep cleans, while water usage in homes will continue to remain higher than normal.
• Commercial use is not equally spread across the country – particularly in rural or commuter belt areas.
What can the public do?
• Stop the use of powerwashers at home.
• Use a watering can rather than a hose in the garden.
• Gather water for use in the garden – either by reusing water used for cooking or washing or by using water butts.
• Take showers over baths.
• Fix any dripping taps where it is possible to do so.
• There is advice and guidance for homes, businesses and farms, including information on how much water you can save with simple measures on www.water.ie/conservation.
Is Irish Water expecting a drought?
• Drought conditions are beginning to emerge.
• March-April 2020 have had much less rainfall than normal in Dublin, at less than 40% of average according to Met Éireann statistics.
• The outlook for the coming 4 weeks is for continued dry weather.
• There may be one-off heavy rainfall days but short-duration weather events usually flush through quickly and add little to storage.
How is Irish Water operating during the COVID-19 pandemic?
• Irish Water and Tipperary County Council, as its partner, are on the ground doing everything in their power to monitor and manage supply distribution across County Tipperary, and fixing leaks to ensure water services are maintained.
• Irish Water is closely following government health advice and doing all it can to help our community stay safe.
• Irish Water is focussing resources on essential services, repairing critical bursts and minimising disruptions in order to ensure that it can supply water to homes and businesses.
• It is a team effort and working with its partners in Tipperary County Council and contractors, Irish Water is maintaining essential water and wastewater services during this time.
For anyone interested in any of the issues around water production and the importance of conservation Irish Water has a compelling documentary Story of Water, which is available to view at www.water.ie.
Issued, on behalf of Irish Water, by Water Services Section, Tipperary County Council.
Dated: 14 May 2020.