THOUSANDS of Dublin households will be without water this bank holiday weekend because of a shortage of treated water. Pressure to homes will be reduced at night.
DUBLINERS face weeks of water disruption due to leaking pipes and a harmless algae.
City officials admitted today that it could be three weeks before supplies are back to normal.
In the meantime, thousands of householders face being cut off from the water system for up to nine hours a day.
“We have the capacity to produce 70m litres of water a day but at the moment we are only getting around 40m,” a spokesperson told the Herald today.
Already the council has announced pressure to homes will be dramatically reduced between 10pm and 7am every night until at least Tuesday.
In some cases this will leave homes without any water at all during those hours.
City engineer Michael Phillips said that while most European cities could cope with the current issues, Dublin’s Victorian water pipes cannot.
He warned that it could be three weeks before normal service is resumed.
Water tankers are on stand-by but officials told the Herald that for the moment they should not be necessary.
“That's not to say that if
the situation gets drastically bad, we won't do that (supply water with tankers),” a spokesperson said.
He explained that a combination of the cold snap and a “minor” problem at a treatment plant in Roundwood are causing the problems.
“We have had the coldest March in 50 years which has caused breakages in the water mains. When that happens demand goes up because people are still using their normal amounts but more water is being lost through leakages on the way.”
The second issue is a “harmless seasonal algae” that is passing from the Vantry river into the Roundwood plant and clogging the filtration system.
“The algae gets into the filters and slows things down. It's like if somebody was draining vegetables in their sink and some of them got into the plug-hole, it would take the water longer to get through the hole,” the spokesperson explained.
The council has appealed to the public to help by cutting water usage and reporting any leaks in mains pipes.
Officials cannot pinpoint the areas where supply will be lost altogether, as this depended on several factors.
When pressure is reduced, the water may not reach homes in high areas, and there is also a difficulty for people at the end of the supply system.
Water pressure will be reduced at night to conserve supplies and the council says it will “try as far as possible to maintain pressures during peak demand periods”.
The spokesperson stressed that there was no problem with the quality of the treated water coming through the taps.
Anyone spotting mains leaks is asked to contact the council on 01-6796186.
Fianna Fail councillor Paul McAuliffe has called on the Government to “urgently consider how water supply in the capital city will be funded in the coming years”.
The councillor points out that almost €1bn in capital spending will be needed over the next
10 years and the local authority has no sustainable way of funding this.