herald

Wednesday 23 January 2019

Rain's on the way... but water ration fear remains

SUMMER sunshine may be in short supply but officials are worried there hasn't been enough rain either.

The country should brace itself for a wet and cold weekend as June continues to disappoint.

But Dublin City Council has renewed warnings that water rationing could be imposed unless the weather gets much worse.

According to officials, not enough rain has fallen in Wicklow -- where the reservoirs serving the capital and surrounding counties are located. And while rain is forecast for the weekend, it will not be heavy enough to make a major difference.

Met Eireann said there will only be scattered showers on Saturday and Sunday, though temperatures will remain stubbornly low. And next week doesn't look good either, with more persistent rain forecast.

Restrictions

However, the city council warned heavy downpours must occur in the Wicklow area before mid-July to avoid rationing. Reductions in pressure and night-time restrictions are possible.

Since the council issued its initial warning two weeks ago, stored water has fallen from 120 days to 115. Ideally, the local authority would like to have more than 150 days in reserve.

City engineer Brian Smyth confirmed five days of back-up supplies have been lost.

He said the reserves -- for Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare -- are continuing to drop as nothing is coming in.

"We've had a very, very dry spring," Mr Smyth said.

If the levels drop below 70 or 80 days and there is no sign of rain, restrictions will be imposed.

comurphy@herald.ie

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