Water Shortage Still Critical in Ireland

Householders around the country tonight faced a second evening without fresh running water as reservoirs were ordered to ration supplies.

Parts of Clare, Cork, Dublin, Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Sligo, Tipperary and Wexford were among the worst affected as water chiefs turned off taps and reduced flows to conserve critically low levels.

Environment Minister John Gormley insisted the situation was improving but said he could give no timeframe for when usage could return to normal.

“It is changing for the better at the moment but it is still critical I would say,” he said.

Cork City Council said worst-hit areas would not see supplies return until 9am tomorrow morning, when householders would be told to boil water beforehand as a precautionary measure.

Emergency stand-pipes will continue giving out water in the city until lunchtime tomorrow.

In Co Clare, water chiefs said interruptions in supply would continue over the coming days.

Water tankers were deployed to Quin and Newmarket on Fergus during the day while stand-pipes remain at other locations throughout the country, including Ennis, Shannon and Ennistymon.

Supplies will be cut off in a number of areas overnight to allow reservoirs to recover while other parts will be affected by low pressure.

Dublin City Council said the problem was widespread across the capital, particularly in Finglas, Terenure, Cabra, Killester, Rathgar, Rathmines and parts of the North Circular Road.

Authorities sent six tankers on to the streets to ensure water was available to the worst-hit parts.

Limerick County Council also urged households to conserve supplies and warned taps could run dry in the coming days.

Areas affected include Caherconlish, Oola, Carrigmore, Doon, Newcastle West, Mountcollins, Abbeyfeale, Foynes and Ballyhahill.

Donal Brennan, senior engineer with the council, said: “Council crews are continuing their efforts to maintain supplies and the public are asked to promptly repair any leaks within their premises.”

Adding to the problems, heavy rain mixed with melting slush and snow has caused flooding in the south of the country.

Motorists were warned of dangerous driving conditions with the N22 Cork to Tralee Road barely passable in parts.

Almost 40 soldiers and six Army vehicles were deployed in Skibbereen to fill and distribute sandbags to help prevent a repeat of the devastating floods that struck in November.

The platoon will be sleeping in Skibbereen Town Hall over the coming nights so as to be on hand to help the local authority and the Garda.

The Defence Forces said 20 troops were also working in Co Leitrim, helping to grit roads, as icy conditions remained in some midland and northern areas.

In Dublin, the offices of the Department of Justice on St Stephen’s Green were forced to close after extensive damage was caused by burst pipes.

The building is expected to be shut for at least a week, with the majority of staff moved to the Department’s other offices at Pembroke House on neighbouring Harcourt Street.

Despite the water shortage, Met Eireann said 44mm of rain fell in Valentia Observatory by midday today.

“This is normal winter weather. This is what we expect to see two or three times each winter,” said forecaster Gerald Fleming.

“A bad winter storm, strong winds, heavy rain. It’s not pleasant but it’s nothing unusual in the context of Irish weather.”

Source:breakingnews.ie - Monday 4th January 2011.

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