herald

Tuesday 25 September 2018

Varadkar hits out as water restrictions to stay until Thursday

SHORTAGE: Padraic Hayden, owner of Camden Kitchen, storing water ahead of the restrictions after 8pm
SHORTAGE: Padraic Hayden, owner of Camden Kitchen, storing water ahead of the restrictions after 8pm

THE water crisis that has gripped the capital will continue until at least Thursday.

City bosses last night extended the current level of restrictions in the latest blow to businesses.

Dublin City Council said staff were working "24 hours per day" in order to solve the crisis and that the cuts will stay in place until at least Thursday.

"We are reviewing the water supply situation on a daily basis and a decision will be taken when appropriate, to change the current level of restriction," a spokesperson said.

The news will come as a major blow to businesses, which have prepared contingency plans in order to stay open throughout the weekend.

And the announcement came as another Cabinet minister has hit out at city chiefs for their handling of the water crisis.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar expressed concern about the impact the water shortage is having on businesses and tourism.

A third of the population face restrictions until at least Thursday as officials continue in their attempts to determine the cause of the crisis. Despite the drafting in of international experts and a €100m infrastructure upgrade, the crisis is showing no signs of letting up.

CONSERVE

"We wish to once again urge consumers all over the Dublin region to conserve water, in an effort to assist us in restoring levels in our treated water reservoirs to normal," the council said last night.

Minister Varadkar yesterday hit out at council bosses for the manner in which the crisis has been handled.

"I do think the City Council could have done a better job in terms of communications; we know the problem is in Ballymore Eustace but we don't know exactly what the problem is," he added.

Mr Varadkar's criticism of the council came after Environment Minister Phil Hogan said that officials "don't know" the cause of the crisis.

Worryingly, the council has admitted that the restrictions have not resulted in a significant improvement in supply.

The Herald reported on Friday that a €100m upgrade to the Ballymore Eustace Plant in Kildare has just been completed.

Ballymore Eustace produced about 310 million litres of the 550 million litres used in Dublin each day. The council said the work by engineers is focusing on "identifying what caused the slowdown in production and how to resolve the issue".

Meanwhile, Irish Water staff were forced to abandon the installation of meters in West Dublin after a protest broke out.

Up to 20 people staged a demonstration in Littlepace as officials were installing meters. According to Irish Water, the staff stopped working for health and safety reasons.

noconnor@herald.ie

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