Water supplies in Dublin should begin to return to normal tomorrow although with reduced pressures over the weekend, the city’s local authority has said.
On the eighth day of disruption to supplies following a problem with algae at the Roundwood reservoir, Dublin City Council confirmed there would be either a reduction in pressure and/or a loss of supply throughout the entire city from 9pm tonight to between 7am and 9am tomorrow morning, Friday.
The council insisted, however, there had been a “significant improvement” in water supply since the imposition of night time pressure reductions began on Thursday March 28th.
Following a review today, the council said the reduced pressure regime would cease when full production is restored at the Roundwood water treatment plant.
Roundwood normally produces about 66 million litres of water a day (out of a maximum of 560 million litres for the entire Dublin region), but this has been down to an average of 40 million litres per day.
The normal strategic reserve of between 10 per cent and 15 per cent was down to “at best” 1 per cent, the council said.
In a statement, it said that due to the cooperation of all water users it had managed to save a significant amount of water. Its regional strategic storage, which had been at an “extreme and unsustainable low level” last Thursday was almost back to its target level.
The council said it would continue to review and monitor the storage levels on an ongoing basis, but could not rule out a return to “more stringent restrictions if problems persist or the situation deteriorates”.
Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan said the problem at Roundwood accentuated the reason so much work had to be carried out in relation to water reform.
He said it highlighted the that sufficient quantities and volumes of water were needed for householders and for inward investment and job creation on the east coast.
The newly established body Irish Water and its chief executive John Fitzgerald would be dealing with this “effectively and progressively as part of their agenda of reform”, he said.
Mr Hogan noted 40 per cent of water supply was currently being lost through leaks from a “very defective network”.
He said the water metering programme would help detect some of those leaks and capital investment would continue to deal with the replacement of some of the pipe network to ensure “a better and more consistent supply”.
Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, Mr Hogan insisted the deadline for the imposition of water charges would be January 1st next year.
Adrian Cummins, chief executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, said the council had made “a complete hames” of the water issue, three years on from the “debacle” when water restrictions were imposed during heavy snow.
“My members are receiving local authority rates bills at the moment that the local authority want us to pay immediately for a service that we’re not being provided with,” he said.
The restrictions were “a ridiculous and unfair imposition on these struggling businesses”.
Mr Cummins said his 400-plus members were in some cases paying rates of up to €40,000 a year. He asked that the council take a “commonsense approach” to the restrictions, by turning the water off at 11pm instead of 9pm, then turning it back on in the morning.