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Water restrictions to hit thousands into next week

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THOUSANDS of homeowners across the State will continue to experience water restrictions over the weekend and into next week.

A combination of shut-offs and pressure reductions are being imposed in at least six local authority areas because of burst pipes caused by frozen ground thawing.

And families in some counties have been forced to live without water for more than two weeks.

The Conway family, who live in Menlo, Co Galway, were given a temporary tank by Galway County Council after it emerged that they had been without water for the past 19 days.

Mother-of-four Orla Conway said: “We’ve been able to flush a toilet and everybody has been able to have a shower, which was great; but it has been dire.

“Only that we have been on holidays, we’ve had the time to go and find water and come back with it. But we’re both back at work next week so it’s going to be extremely difficult to get water.”

Thousands of people living on the eastern side of Galway city will endure yet another weekend without water.

City council officials confirmed that homeowners and businesses linked to the Ballybane and Briarhill reservoirs would experience either very low pressure or no supply at all overnight.

The restricted supply, between 10pm and 7am may also be repeated later tonight as the council attempts to build up water levels in the Ballybane reservoir.

“People living in parts of the east side of the city will experience just a trickle of water due to low pressure while this procedure is taking place, or they may have no water at all. The problem is that the Ballybane reservoir has not had a chance to properly re-fill over the extended period of severe weather, followed by the thaw which brought the leaks,” a city council spokesman explained.

Adding to the problem is the continued discovery of leaks in pipes, caused by the thaw.

Water tankers will continue to be deployed in the suburbs.

Problems also remain in Ballinasloe, Co Galway, where a ‘boil water’ notice is in place. Homeowners are also being told to boil water in Connemara, mid-Galway and in Gort.

Restrictions remain in place in Kildavin, Tinnahinch and Borris, Co Carlow, and while supply is almost back to normal in Clare, restrictions remain in place in Corofin and Ruan.

A burst mains resulted in cut-offs in Ballinabooly, Co Kilkenny, while restrictions were put in place in Ballymote, Co Sligo, last night. Reservoir levels remain low across the country, while Waterford is also affected.

There will be no let-up in restrictions in Dublin until at least next week, with concerns about the impact of the return of colleges and schools.

‘Critically low’ reservoirs force new water restrictions

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Thousands of residents on the east side of the city are facing more water woes this weekend as Galway City Council introduces fresh restrictions on supply from reservoirs.

Supply from the Briarhill water reservoir was restricted last night (Thursday) and again tonight between 10pm and 7am – the local authority concedes that the night time restrictions could be repeated again Saturday and Sunday.

This means that hundreds of homes and businesses in Doughiska and Roscam will be without water or have low pressure.

The Briarhill reservoir had returned to reasonable levels in recent days, but the City Council says the new restrictions are being introduced in order to replenish Ballybane reservoir, which remains critically low and which is connected to the Briarhill reservoir.

“Water levels at Ballybane reservoir are still quite low and it hasn’t had an opportunity to rebuild because of a number of leaks in the Ballybane area which are being dealt with,” a spokesperson for the Council said. By restricting Briarhill the Council hopes Ballybane will refill.

Clifton Hill on Circular Road and Tonabrocky reservoirs are still not back to normal but water levels have recovered substantially from the critically low levels last week.

The City Council says that most areas have had water restored although individual homes in some estates citywide as well as several ‘pockets’ in parts of the city – particularly in high-lying areas or older areas – remain without water, three weeks after the shortages began.

Meanwhile, Director of Services for Transport and Infrastructure Ciarán Hayes is expected to tell Councillors at Monday’s meeting that the already cash-strapped local authority has spent up to €200,000 more than it had budgeted for during the latest winter weather and water crisis.

The additional expenditure was on extra salt and grit supplies for the roads during the December freeze; the cost of repairing potholes as a result of the extreme weather; as well as the cost of the water shortages including paying Council staff overtime and employing outside contractors to deal with fixing leaks when the Stephen’s Day thaw arrived. Emergency Government funding is expected to be sought to cover the additional costs.

Water Restrictions set to Continue

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Water restrictions are still in place in many parts of the country tonight.

Local authorities say interruptions in supply are likely to continue until the end of this week as they wait for levels at reservoirs to recover.

Demand for water surged today as many people returned to work following the Christmas break, while many areas are also struggling with leakage from ageing and decaying pipes.

Engineer with Dublin City Council Brian McKeown said he was confident restrictions would be lifted in the days ahead.

“The fundamental issue is that our demand, including the leakage, is above our capacity to treat water and by putting in restrictions, we’ve driven that demand down so that we can put water into storage,” he said.

He said as leaks were fixed, demand would drop below their ability to treat the water and at that stage “we’re back to normal”.

Read more:

Advice to Householders on frozen and burst pipes

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Frozen Pipes  Advice to Householders

Because of the unprecedented cold spell, resulting in frost penetration deep into the ground, many householders are experiencing problems due to frozen water pipes.

The two most common sources of the problem are:

  • Either a service pipe between the watermain and the house, which because of the depth at which it has been laid has frozen, or
  • A pipe in an attic, which because of inadequate lagging has frozen.
    Because of the diverse nature of each individual case, it is not feasible to issue “one size fits all” advice. In general, householders experiencing problems with frozen pipes are advised to contact their own plumber. The plumber should be able to locate the blockage and may be able to advise on ways of freeing or bypassing the frozen pipe in the short term.
    Individual tips which might help to avoid frozen pipes are:
  • Wrap a towel around an outside tap.
  • Open the attic trap door to allow heat into the attic.
  • Leave a light on in the attic.
  • Leave heating on longer than normal.
  • Place a piece of insulation eg. carpet/matting over your external stopcock.
  • Park a car over your external stopcock.
  • Farmers should carry out regular check on service pipes to water troughs.
    When carrying out any measures to ensure pipes do not freeze, members of the public are reminded to ensure that the measures are carried out in a manner which is safe and does not create a hazard for either themselves or for the general public.
    Households should know where your stop valve is in the case of emergency.

For more details/tips visit the following link,6328,en.html

HOUSEHOLDERS have been warned to expect drinking water shortages

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HOUSEHOLDERS have been warned to expect drinking water shortages over the coming days as the thaw sets in.

Despite water mains being buried up to one metre deep, the ground shifts as it thaws, which can cause the pipes to rupture, Dublin city engineer Michael Phillips said yesterday.

More than a dozen local authorities have issued pleas to the public to conserve water as reservoir stocks run low because of unprecedented demand. For full story click link below.

Icy conditions continue but thaw expected later in week

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IT WILL be “bitterly cold” tonight and the thaw will not be felt until tomorrow at the earliest, Met Éireann has warned.

Parts of the northeast, midlands and east Munster yesterday received further snowfalls, and in many areas it fell on compacted ice.

At Dublin airport Aer Lingus has cancelled today’s early-morning arrival from Boston. This follows the cancellation of flights between Dublin and the UK, France, Spain and Germany yesterday. Air France and Aer Arran also cancelled flights yesterday while a number of other airlines experienced delays.

Iarnród Eireann said all services were operating fully yesterday.

Dublin Bus said road conditions were still expected to be very icy across the city today and it will continue to monitor all routes with regular updates on its website, Bus Éireann said it will assess the situation early this morning and it too will have regular updates on its website,

All users of public transport have been advised to contact their service providers before leaving home.

Up to 10,000 homes were without power yesterday evening in Donegal due to a “major fault” in the area. Weather conditions hampered crews as sleet and snow fell last night.

Eircom reported a fibre break on an underground cable between Listowel, Co Kerry and Foynes, Co Limerick. About 8,850 broadband customers and 750 telephone customers had their service restored by yesterday evening and the company said efforts to reconnect about 1,150 customers in Killorglin would continue.

The Government’s emergency taskforce will continue to co-ordinate efforts today as the ESB reconnects homes which were cut off during the cold spell.

Assistant Garda Commissioner John Twomey warned motorists to continue to be vigilant and confirmed Operation Freeflow, the annual deployment of extra gardaí on the streets of Dublin, had begun on December 1st. He also appealed to householders to check on their elderly neighbours during the ongoing cold spell.

Dublin City Council engineer Michael Phillips said the cost of having workers out on the streets clearing snow, as well as the extra costs for salt and gritting, were running close to €1 million.

Sean O’Neill of the National Roads Authority said salt was being transported around the country to areas of most need and while supplies were as low as 25,000 tonnes nationally, he anticipated they would be back up to 50,000 tonnes by Christmas.

Dwindling levels lead to water supply cuts

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CUTS TO water supplies throughout Dublin city and county could continue until Christmas, a senior local authority engineer has warned.

The four Dublin local authorities have begun to implement night-time water restrictions, cutting the supply to houses between 7pm and 7am, which will affect some suburbs more than others.

The cuts are needed because of the dwindling supplies at the county’s reservoirs caused by leaks and wasting of water by residents who have been running taps in the belief that it will prevent pipes from freezing.

The levels of water in the reservoirs serving the city and county have been falling by an average of 20 megalitres (million litres) per day. The demand for water had increased over the last week from 538 megalitres on Sunday November 28th to 575 last Sunday. Dublin’s water treatment plants can produce about 560 megalitres per day.

City manager John Tierney has assured Dubliners that water tanks in every home or business will have sufficient quantity to cover the amount of water needed when water will be restricted.

“We acknowledge and appreciate the high level of co-operation and assistance already received from consumers. With their continued support it will be possible to limit the level of restrictions.”

However, he said supplies would only be maintained if householders didn’t leave taps running during the cold weather or hoard water in baths.

Water restrictions in the city began last night and are planned to continue for the next two nights, the city manager said, with cuts to the supply running into buildings in some parts of the city and reductions in pressure in others.

However, senior engineer with South Dublin County Council Dermot Finch said the restrictions in his area could continue for weeks. “We’ll be turning off the water every night for the foreseeable future until such time as the reservoirs recover. If the residents don’t run the taps unnecessarily and don’t fill baths, we hope the the restrictions will end by Christmas.”

Fingal County Council has planned restrictions for the next three nights. A different selection of suburbs will be chosen each night so that no area has its water cut two nights in a row. The council is advising householders not to run dishwashers or washing machines, which can draw a significant amount of water, on the days that restrictions apply to their areas.

Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council will decide which areas will have a cut in supply by 5pm each day. The council has not determined how long the cuts will continue but has advised that older houses are likely to experience delays in the restoration of full supplies each day.

Dublin Chamber of Commerce said the lack of notice for the cuts was unacceptable.

“It is completely frustrating that there has been no communication with ratepayers who are funding this city,” spokesman Patrick King said. “It’s unbelievable that householders are again running taps after what happened in January and it shows up the urgent need for domestic charging for water.

Labour city councillor Kevin Humphreys said it was unfortunate that the council hadn’t been able to give more notice of the restrictions, but the loss of water became a major issue only last weekend.

“We need to act now as a matter of urgency. If we can reduce the usage of water over the next few weeks, we can avoid having to bring in the tankers as we did last January when households were left without water.”

Details of the restrictions will be available each day on the local authority websites:,, and

Prevention, Leak Detection and Repair of burst and frozen water pipes

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Due to the prolonged cold spell with sub zero temperatures frozen and burst water pipes are becoming a problem. SES LTD have provided householders and commercial premises with a number of tips on how to decrease the risk of pipes becoming frozen and resulting in leaks.

The first course of action is prevention. A property owner can decrease the risk of frozen pipes by undertaking a variety of measures including:

  1. Increasing the temperature in the attic by opening the attic trap door to allow heat from the house to circulate in the attic space or by leaving the attic light on.
  2. Increasing the room temperature in the house or business premises by placing your heating on a timer to allow it to come on intermittently for short periods. This is particularly important during the night.
  3. Insulating the external stopcock which is located outside your property by placing foam or carpet over it, or by placing rags or cloths in the stop cock chamber. Remember any measures carried out must be completed in a manner which is safe and does not create a hazard for you or the general public.
  4. If you own a house or a business premises that is currently closed or unoccupied, visit the property and check the heating system is set to heat the property.
  5. Farmers should check outlying farm buildings and other remote properties for leaks and regularly check service pipes to water troughs.
  6. Before the end of the cold spell all property owners should familiarise themselves with the location of their external stopcock outside their property and know how to turn off their water supply. A domestic internal stopcock is generally found underneath the kitchen sink. This can be important if a pipe bursts. Turning off the water promptly as soon as a burst pipe is detected will limit potential damage, particularly from the attic.

How do I know i have a leak?

  1. The first step is to locate the water meter(generally found near the boundary of the premises).
  2. When your premises are not in use, turn off all water fittings, including taps and cisterns. Remember to turn the fittings back on when the test is complete.
  3. Take a reading from your water meter. Note the figure and the date and time. If you have more than one meter, take note of all meter readings.
  4. If possible leave your water fittings turned off for a few hours, e.g. overnight or over a few days or at the weekend.
  5. After this period take note of the meter reading. There should be no difference in the meter readings at the start and the end of the leak test.

If there is a significant increase between the start and the end of the test, then you may have a leak in your system. You will need to get specialist help to find the source of the leak using specialist leak detection methods.



You are responsible for maintaining all of the pipes and fittings within the boundary of your premises. It is in your interest to fix any leaks as soon as possible, as you will be billed for the water wasted.

If you are concerned regarding a domestic or commercial water leak contact SES LTD for a free consultation on 0818 288 050.