Friday 22 March 2019

Thousands hit with water cutbacks as rain not enough to end drought

Pedestrians in Dublin get to grips with the returning showers, which are forecast to fall regularly throughout the week
Pedestrians in Dublin get to grips with the returning showers, which are forecast to fall regularly throughout the week
Pedestrians in Dublin

Thousands of households across Dublin will still be hit with water restrictions from today despite rainfall forecast for this week.

In a desperate bid to conserve water, homes and businesses face having reduced water pressure from 10pm to 5am.

That is in combination with a hosepipe ban across the country, which will remain in place until early August.

More than 30 locations, in areas stretching from Bray in Wicklow to Finglas on Dublin's northside and Lucan to the west, will be affected.

While most customers should have water flowing from their kitchen tap, those in multi-storey buildings, on higher ground or at the edge of the network could see supply reduced to a trickle.

However, even though sales of sun cream are expected to be replaced by umbrella purchases, the rain forecast for this week won't be enough to bring an end to the drought.

Irish Water has warned at least four weeks' rainfall is now required to replenish streams, rivers, lakes and reservoirs.

A status yellow drought warning will remain in place across Ireland until Wednesday. Irish Water has said that, despite the rainfall, further water supply restrictions will come into force this week to protect vital water sources.

According to Met Eireann, temperatures will take a dip from today, with cloudier and regular showers forecast for the next seven days.


Mercury levels are expected hit 16 to 20C, with the warmest being in the eastern and southern parts of the country.

A forecaster for Met Eireann told the Herald that while most of Ireland will experience showers, drought conditions will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

"Although there was rain yesterday with some heavy bursts, it won't be nearly enough to alleviate the very high soil deficits that we still have," she said.

"At this stage we'd need about a metre of rain and even if that occurred all at once it still wouldn't be enough. It would need to happen over a much longer period for us to see an end to this drought."

Looking ahead, the forecaster said a complex frontal zone crossing the country from Iceland has produced both a warm and cold front.

Today and tomorrow will be a lot fresher, with some scattered showers.

"We'll see similar conditions continue into Wednesday, but on Thursday there could be heavier showers in some parts of the country. There will be highs of 16 to 20C," the forecaster said.

The latest indications for Friday suggest brighter, fresher weather, with sunny spells as well as scattered showers.

There's some uncertainty for next weekend, but indications suggest it will be dry, with a mix of cloud and sunny spells. Maximum temperatures will be in the low 20s.

Meanwhile, Dr Conor Murphy of Maynooth University, an expert in hydrology, pointed out that the level of rainfall in June was the lowest in almost 160 years.

"In June, the Phoenix Park recorded its driest month in 160 years, with just 3.8mm of rain for the entire month," he said.

"At Dublin Airport, May and June were the two driest months in almost 168 years, with just 23.9mm of rainfall being recorded."

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