Water restrictions in Limerick as big freeze hits supply

Irish Water Limerick Operations Manager Duane O'Brien.

NIGHT-time water use restrictions have been implemented in some areas of Limerick to ensure a daytime supply.

But the old trick of leaving a tap running to prevent freezing is not the way to go, Irish Water has advised.

Irish Water Operations Lead for Limerick Duane O’Brien said that due to the freezing conditions over the last week, communities in East Limerick have been impacted by water demands exceeding the available water supply.

“Areas impacted include Cappamore, Foileen, Oola, Doon and surrounds.  This has been caused by an increase in minor bursts in water mains which are being repaired by our crews as they arise and possibly by consumers running taps overnight.

“We are constantly monitoring the levels of our reservoirs throughout the county, but it has been necessary to impose intermittent night time water restrictions in these areas to ensure we have adequate supply during peak hours.

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“We also recommend that people don’t run taps continually as this is not an effective way of preventing frozen pipes and can cause other problems such as frozen drains. It also puts further pressure on water supplies that are already challenged by the freezing conditions.

“For example, we recently saw an example of where a single hosepipe left running overnight resulted in 60 people being without water.”

With the cold snap expected to continue over the weekend, Irish Water is reminding customers in Limerick that there are some simple steps they can take to protect against frozen pipes and bursts.  

These include checking outside pipes that can become frozen and burst during periods of cold weather and, if possible, turn off water supply to these areas or to any unoccupied premises.

Alternatively, if the water system is left operational, heating can be set to come on periodically at a lower temperature. This allows warm air to circulate, and will help prevent pipes and tanks from freezing in the cold weather.

“With the temperatures dipping below -5-degrees in some areas this week it is important to continue the regular maintenance of your property, protect outside taps and farm troughs, and check empty premises,” Mr O’Brien advised.

“It also a good idea to familiarise yourself with your own internal water system and particularly how to turn off your supply at the stopcock so that you can protect your property in the event of a burst pipe.  

“To help people avoid issues like this and stay safe, warm and comfortable during the cold snap we have lots of helpful advice on our website, www.water.ie/winterproofing