One year on from the worst drought in 70 years that saw the country’s first Water Conservation Orders (hosepipe bans), research has revealed that 52% of the public acknowledge that they waste water, with 25% of people believing that they don’t need to conserve water because of the level of rainfall in Ireland.
Utility company, Irish Water have launched a water conservation campaign to encourage the public to use only what they need because of the economic and environmental cost of providing safe clean drinking water and the need to safeguard the supply for the future.
Each day in Ireland, 1.7 billion litres of water is collected, treated and pumped around a vast network of pipes to homes, businesses, hospitals and farms. The treatment process is a lengthy and complex one with up to seven stages that can take up to three days to make raw water suitable to drink.
As our population grows, Irish Water needs to ensure that we are abstracting enough water for homes and businesses while still protecting the environment. While the company is helping to conserve water by fixing leaks, conservation by homes and businesses is also key.
SMALL MEASURES ENGOURAGED
Small measures in conserving water can have a big impact. Six litres of water a minute can be saved by turning off the tap when brushing your teeth; showering uses half the amount of water of a bath; and keeping a jug of water in the fridge instead of running the cold tap can save up to 10 litres of water.
Speaking as the water conservation campaign was recently launched, Neil Smyth said, “In 2018, bad storms followed by the prolonged drought really showed people that safe, clean, treated water is not in unlimited supply and that we all have to play a part in conserving it. Water levels in Inniscarra lake, supplying parts of Cork City, reached historically low levels last year. Irish Water and Cork County Council had to carefully manage supplies in North Cork, where night time restrictions were imposed on the Newmarket Regional Supply Scheme and in West Cork, where tankering water was required to maintain supply on the Clonakilty Regional Supply Scheme.”
“It was really encouraging last summer to see on social media and elsewhere, the conservation measures that people were taking in their homes and businesses. However, when the urgency of a drought passes, it is easy to lose focus on how precious water is. This is despite the fact that the financial and environmental impact of treating and providing drinking water does not decrease as rainfall increases.”
“There are loads of helpful conservation tips for homes, business and farms on our website water.ie/conservation and on social media @Irish Water. We are encouraging everyone to play their part and use only what they need.”