PARTS of Donegal will experience water rationing over the coming weeks if consumers do not heed calls to conserve water and minimise water usage as lake levels continue to fall.
The stark warning has been issued by Irish Water amid growing concerns over water supply to the Milford, Kerrykeel, Rathmullan, and Ramelton areas due to the ongoing dry weather conditions.
Details of the ‘Donegal Drought Action Plan’ were outlined to members of the Letterkenny Municipal District on Friday afternoon last.
Irish Water has set-up an incident management team, putting in place both short-term and long-term action plans as Lough Colmcille Lake levels drop to below 12 foot – almost eight foot lower than the level of the lake this time last year.
Milford Water Supply uses 2,250 cubic metres of water daily and Irish Water has confirmed that negotiations with landowners is ongoing as they look to draw raw water from both Lough Doo and Lough Coney as part of short term measures to address the problem.
Milford, which has also been serving Rathmullan since 2013, has more than 2,000 (2,054) domestic connections.
Records indicate that the average rainfall (620mm) between October 2016 and June 2017 is almost a quarter (22.5%) below average while April 2017 has been the driest April experienced for 67 years.
Irish Water and Donegal County Council are continuing to look for and repair leaks on the public water networks to reduce leakage while an additional 630 cubic metres of water from Letterkenny (Goldrum) is being diverted to Milford.
Fanad Water Supply Zone is also being extended further south to supply parts of Milford – saving 100 cubic metres a day – with pipeline extensions from Letterkenny water to Milford via Drummond (€1.2 million) and Cranford water to supply into Milford (€750,000) among the longer term options.
In the meantime however Irish Water is asking consumers to conserve water and minimise water usage for the foreseeable future.
Customers are asked to refrain from using piped water supplies for activities such as watering lawns and gardens, washing cars, and washing down yards.
Members were told that the next steps include night time pressure reduction, hose pipe ban, flow reductions, water rationing and tankering as well as disconnecting Rathmullan.
Independent Councillor Michael McBride congratulated Irish Water on it’s investment within Donegal.
“Donegal has the second highest investment of any county from Irish Water – €150 million – although that also shows the lack of recent investment up to the that point. There’s a major new contract going to tender next month while a €19 million contract for a new plant at Glenmaquin was signed last month,” Cllr McBride said.
“There’s a lot of investment on its way but in the meantime we must al conserve as much water as possible,” he added.
Consumers are asked to report any leaks they see by calling the Irish Water Customer Care helpline which is open 24/7 on 1850 278 278. Maps of the affected areas and further information can be viewed on the Irish Water website on the supply and service update section of www.water.ie
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