Sunday 20 October 2019

Supply of water under pressure

Maria Pepper

Water supplies in Wexford seaside resorts are under pressure as the county basks in a heatwave.

The worst hit areas are Ballymoney, Courtown, Ardamine, Morriscastle and Castlebridge, where restrictions have been introduced at night. And further areas are likely to be affected if the hot spell continues.

Wexford County Council has been forced to reduce water pressure in north Wexford coastal areas at night in order to conserve supply.

'Consumption has gone up dratically, by 25% in coastal areas,' said senior water services engineer Darragh Cullinane.

Water resources were holding up last week but levels began to drop as temperatures continued to soar over the weekend.

'The demand is exceeding our capacity to produce water,' said the engineer.

The county's two main sources are groundwater and rivers and while there is still plenty of water in local rivers, the county's treatment plants are unable to produce at the level required.

'Our treatment plants have a limited capacity. We can only pump so much through them,' said Mr Cullinane.

In response, the council has decided to reduce water pressure in north Wexford coastal areas and Castlebridge in the late evenings to allow reservoirs to recover.

The result is a loss of supply in some locations during the night, particularly in high-lying areas.

The council has appealed to people not to waste water.

'We would encourage minimal use of water in the garden. People should water flowers and plants late in the evening rather than during the day. It's more beneficial anyway,' he said.

'Use a watering can rather than a hose – the same applies when washing cars.

The council uses an electronic system to monitor water levels in its reservoirs.

'The flow in the rivers is still adequate but the main diffciulty is groundwater which is beginning to drop. When the level drops, a pump can't deliver the same amount of water,' said Mr Cullinane.

'But the problem is not really a lack of water. It's the drop in pressure as more and more water is pumped through the system,' he explained.

'The weekends are critical times, especially in coastal areas because of the population increase.'

'We would urge people to be aware of their water consumption.'

'It's not an endless supply. Even if they are not affected, their neighbours could be.'

The council engineer said more areas around the county may be affected if the heatwave continues.

Wexford People

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