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Published: 17/07/2018
From: Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government

Hot Weather

Irish Water continuing to urge homes and businesses to conserve water despite change in weather

20th July 2018 - Irish Water is continuing to urge homes and businesses to conserve water despite some rainfall nationally as many of the raw water resources around the country are significantly depleted and continue to drop.

There are currently 24,000 people across 22 water supply schemes across the country who are experiencing a restricted or intermittent water supply. This includes schemes in Clare, Cork, Donegal, Galway, Kerry, Kilkenny, Limerick and Offaly. This number of people affected has doubled since restrictions were first introduced in a bid to protect the supply of water to these communities in the longer term. The schemes are reviewed on a daily basis and restrictions are only put on if necessary. For example in Athlone restrictions that were nightly have now gone to once a week reflecting the operational work that has been done on the ground, the conservation efforts of homes and businesses and the water saved by restricting the supply.

There are 20 schemes across the country in Clare, Cork, Donegal, Galway, Galway City, Kerry, Kilkenny, Limerick and Offaly who are currently having water tankered to reservoirs or water sources to minimise restrictions or potential restrictions and protect the supply. Over 90,000 people are benefiting from this measure.

Significant works are ongoing to try to support the supply of water in these areas, including improving intakes from the raw water sources, upgrading boreholes and investigating potential supplementary water sources, with Irish Water hydrologists out on the ground in a number of locations.

In the Greater Dublin Area, there are around 600,000 people affected by active pressure management restrictions. These customers are not seeing any discernible impact. The pressure management is being fine-tuned, using the learnings and customer feedback from when pressure management was used during Storm Emma. This has ensured minimal disruption, including areas with high night-time use. Pressure will continue to be managed so as not to cause any weekend issues.

The effects of the pressure management in the Greater Dublin Area will be reviewed next week when Irish Water has 7 days of data available to assess the impact and the water savings. Pressure management will be continued in the Greater Dublin Area but we will use this information to decide whether Irish Water needs to move from Level 2 restrictions or increase the areas affected. Irish Water will notify the public in advance of any further escalations.

Commenting on the situation, Irish Water’s Corporate Affairs Manager and water engineer Kate Gannon said,

Raw water resources are significantly depleted and continue to drop. In the absence of significant rainfall amounts, Irish Water continues to be concerned about the water resources into August and September. Water conservation efforts by Irish Water, the local authorities and our customers need to continue at their current levels.

The efforts made by homes, businesses and farms have been really encouraging and we are very grateful for any and all measures taken to conserve water. Our leakage reduction teams have been active on the ground, working with the local authorities and prioritising the most impactful leaks first.

We are continuously monitoring the supply and demand levels. While any rainfall at all is welcome, we have a long way to go. Advice for homes, businesses and farms is available on water.ie where people can also see the decreasing usage of water in the Greater Dublin Area. Continued conservation is essential if we are to protect and safeguard future water supply.

Key Public Safety Messages for Forest/ Wild Land Fires:

Fire Service

  • Vegetation is tinder dry and in line with the advice from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine there should be no controlled burning at this time.
  • The public that are using outdoor amenity spaces (parks, forests and grassland areas) need to be additionally careful and not use any BBQs or anything with a naked flame as in the current environment they may cause a wild land fire
  • In the event of a fire the public are asked to call 999/112 and ask for the Fire Service. This should be done as early as possible to prevent the fire front developing. When talking to the emergency services it is important to give as much detail as possible about the location of the fire and any local access routes that can be used to get to it.
  • Wild land fires are dangerous, wind direction can change quickly causing the direction of the fire to change. The public are advised not approach forests and wild land area that are on fire.

Health

The general health advice is to stay out of the smoke if possible, as it is an irritant and can more commonly make both the eyes and throat sore in addition to other health effects.

Provided that there is no risk from the fire itself, please follow the following advice:

  • During episodes with high air pollution from smoke coming from the fire, all people – particularly those at risk (e.g. children, elderly, and pregnant women; people with existing medical conditions: asthma, other respiratory diseases and cardiovascular diseases; and smokers) – should stay indoors;
  • Keep windows closed. Nevertheless, try to keep homes cool during periods of high temperature [ See https://www.hse.ie/eng/ for further information]
  • Reduce other sources of indoor air pollution, such as smoking cigarettes, using propane gas or wood-burning stoves, spraying aerosol products, and frying or grilling food;
  • People in the immediate area of fire (particularly those at risk and listed above) who experience any symptoms or have concerns, should reduce their level of activity and seek access to prompt healthcare advice; and
  • Continue to follow the recommendations of the local health authorities.

During this period of prolonged dry hot weather, the Department of Housing, Planning & Local Government would like to advise the public that grass and brush fires can spread rapidly and can threaten both you and your property.

Moisture deficit conditions as reported by Met Éireann are now at their worst for wildland fires to start and spread.

While in the countryside:

  • Do not light open fires
  • Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows – some of the worst wildland fires have been caused by thoughtless discarding of smokers’ materials
  • Be careful not to drop a match or smouldering cigarette carelessly. Put out cigarettes and matches carefully and responsibly
  • When camping/ hiking in the countryside, use only proper equipment for cooking/ boiling water
  • Bring all your rubbish home to your own bin
  • Don’t leave bottles behind - sunlight shining through glass can start a fire

Barbecues:

  • Never light a barbecue in the open countryside
  • Only use barbecues in designated parts of amenity/ recreation areas
  • Never leave a barbecue unattended
  • Always keep a bucket of water or sand nearby for emergencies
  • Ensure the barbecue is cold before attempting to move it
  • Take great care when disposing of disposable barbecues and ashes

If you do use a disposable barbecue at home:

  • Place the barbecue on an even surface on either bricks or paving slabs. Never place directly on grass or other combustible materials
  • Place disposable barbecues well away from the house, shed, shrubs/ vegetation or fences
  • Do not use disposable barbecues near or on public benches
  • If you're using a disposable barbecue ensure you have extinguished it and allowed it to cool for several hours. Then consider pouring water over it to make sure it's out before disposing of it appropriatley.
  • Never put hot ashes straight into a dustbin or wheelie bin - they could cause a fire

If you discover a fire:

  • Never try and deal with the fire yourself
  • Tell others in the area who may be at risk
  • Leave the area as quickly as possible
  • Call the fire service at 999 or 112 and give the exact location of the fire with a landmark such as a farm or pub etc. This will help them to locate you.
  • Keep access points and forest entrances clear for the emergency services
  • Report any suspicious activity you observe to an garda síochána

Met Éireann Report

TODAY - FRIDAY 20TH JULY

Generally cloudy this afternoon and evening with scattered outbreaks of misty rain and drizzle. Drier and brighter weather will gradually extend southwards this evening. Highs of 17 to 21 degrees in light breezes

TONIGHT - FRIDAY 20TH JULY

Becoming clear and dry overnight as the last of the rain/drizzle clears from the south coast. Lows of 11 to 14 degrees. Some fog patches may form around dawn.

TOMORROW - SATURDAY 21ST JULY

Largely dry and bright on Saturday with sunny intervals. Cloud increasing across northwest Ulster during the day with some patchy light rain /drizzle near coastal areas. Highs of 17 to 23 degrees, warmest across Munster. Light breezes.

Appeal to public for water conservation and wildland fire prevention

Eoghan Murphy, TD, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government and Minister Kevin Boxer Moran appealed to the public, urging them to use water sparingly and to prevent wildland fires during this extended period of dry weather conditions, which is also bringing drought conditions.

Irish people have shown themselves to be very responsible and community-minded when nature threatened us during Storms Ophelia and Emma. The same spirit, with each of us doing our bit, can enable us to enjoy the sunshine, while dealing with the issues the warm weather is raising for the country.

...said Minister Murphy.

Minister Moran said:

The dry spell we are currently all enjoying has knock on effects for our country. We need people to act today to help manage the issues that will arise in the coming weeks. Conserve is our main message and I also want to urge people to keep an eye on vulnerable neighbours and friends.

They were speaking following a visit to Irish Water’s Headquarters in Dublin where the company’s Crisis Management Team are managing almost 1,000 water supply schemes to minimise potential reduction or loss of water supply. Irish water have extended their ban on the use of hose pipes in domestic settings nationwide as the warm weather, which the country has enjoyed, is forecast by Met Éireann to continue. Met Éireann also are forecasting only small amounts of rain over the coming two weeks and thus drought conditions will persist.

The Ministers were accompanied by officers from local authority fire services who are also appealing to the public to prevent wildland fires. Fire services are responding currently to between 130 and 160 wildland fire incidents every day. As the drought continues, the conditions for fire will get worse, the Minister said. This underlines the need for care to prevent wildland fires from starting. Controlled burning of stubble by farmers is banned by the Department of Agriculture. People visiting or hiking in the countryside should not light any fire. Reports indicate that a significant number of the current wildland fires are caused by careless discarding of matches and cigarette ends. This is putting pressure on fire services, who have had to call in the Air Corps helicopters to assist with some wildland fire-fighting this week.

Fire services are working with Irish Water to ensure that they can access waters supplies in urban areas where there may be restrictions on water pressure. Each fire engine carries 2,000 litres of water and this is sufficient to put out the majority of fires the Minister said, but it is important that restricted supplies can be redirected without delay to areas where fire services are fighting large fires in towns. Where practicable, fire services are filling their fire engines and water tankers from open sources – rivers and lakes – rather than taking mains waters for fire-fighting.

We are also urging people to be responsible and to take their rubbish and bottles home when they are out at the beach or in other recreation and amenity areas this weekend and while the good weather lasts.

Safety Message from ESB: Dangers of swimming in ESB Reservoirs

ESB would like to remind the general public of the dangers and potential serious consequences of swimming in any ESB reservoir. This is due to the risk of uneven ground, deep waters, changing water levels and fast-flowing waters.

These waters include the reservoirs at Poulaphoca and Golden Falls in Wicklow, Leixlip in Kildare, Inniscarra and Carrigadrohid in Cork, the Ardnacrusha headrace and tailrace canal in County Clare and Assaroe and Lough Nacung in County Donegal.

HSE - Hot Weather Advice

During a hot spell those with heart, respiratory and serious health problems are more at risk of potentially adverse effects of very warm weather, while babies and young children are also especially at risk.

While the heat can affect anyone, the following are most at risk of serious harm:

  • Older people, especially those over 75
  • Babies and young children
  • People with serious mental health problems
  • People on certain medications
  • People with a serious chronic condition, particularly breathing or heart problems
  • People who already have a high temperature from an infection
  • People who misuse alcohol or take illicit drugs
  • People with mobility problems
  • People who are physically active, like manual workers and athletes.

Top tips for keeping cool

  • It is best to avoid getting too hot in the first place. Stay tuned to the weather forecast.
  • Remember to think of those who may be more at risk from the effects of heat.
  • If you're planning to travel, check the forecast at your destination.
  • Learn how to keep cool and safe at home HSE guidance

Stay out of the heat

  • Keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm
  • If you have to go out in the heat, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection
  • Avoid extreme physical exertion. If you can’t avoid strenuous outdoor activity, like sport, DIY or gardening, keep it for cooler parts of the day, like early morning or evening
  • Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes and a hat to shade face, neck and ears
  • Wear wrap around sun glasses with UV protection
  • Wear sun protection factor: factor 30 or over with a 4 or 5 Star UVA rating on any areas that cannot be covered by clothing and a hat
  • Young children, especially babies, and the elderly are more susceptible to sun damage so be extra careful.

Cool yourself down

  • Drink plenty of cold drinks, and avoid excess alcohol, caffeine and hot drinks
  • Eat cold foods, particularly salads and fruit with a high water content
  • Take a cool shower, bath or body wash
  • Sprinkle water over the skin or clothing, or keep a damp cloth on the back of your neck.

Keep your environment cool

  • Keep your living space cool. This is especially important for infants, the elderly or those with chronic health conditions or those who can’t look after themselves
  • Keep windows that are exposed to the sun closed during the day, and open windows at night when the temperature has dropped
  • Close curtains that receive morning or afternoon sun
  • Turn off non-essential lights and electrical equipment – they generate heat
  • Keep plants and bowls of water in the house as evaporation helps cool the air
  • If possible, move into a cooler room, especially for sleeping
  • Electric fans can help but only if temperature is below 35C.

Look out for others

  • Keep an eye on isolated, elderly, ill or very young people and make sure they are able to keep cool
  • Ensure that babies, children or elderly people are not left alone in stationary cars
  • Check on elderly or sick neighbours, family or friends every day during a heat wave
  • Be alert and call a doctor or social services if someone is unwell or further help is needed.

Advice on medicines

  • Many prescription medicines can reduce your tolerance of heat. You should keep taking your medicines, but take extra care to keep cool.
  • Danger symptoms to watch out for in hot weather include: feeling faint and dizzy, short of breath, vomiting or increasing confusion. Take immediate action if - danger symptoms of heatstroke are present: Cool down as quickly as possible. However do not take aspirin or paracetamol – this can make you worse. Do however carry on taking all other prescribed medicines. Seek further advice from a doctor, or ring 999 if the person has collapsed.
  • Keep medicines below 25°C or in the refrigerator (read the storage instructions on the packaging)
  • Seek medical advice if you are suffering from a chronic medical condition or taking multiple medications.

If you or others feel unwell

  • Try to get help if you feel dizzy, weak, anxious or have intense thirst and headache; move to a cool place as soon as possible and measure your body temperature
  • Drink some water or fruit juice to rehydrate
  • Rest immediately in a cool place if you have painful muscular cramps (particularly in the legs, arms or abdomen, in many cases after sustained exercise during very hot weather)
  • Drink oral rehydration solutions containing electrolytes
  • Seek medical attention as needed if heat cramps last more than one hour
  • Consult your doctor if you feel unusual symptoms or if symptoms persist.

Seek advice if you have any concerns

  • Contact your doctor or a pharmacist if you are worried about your health during a heat wave, especially if you are taking medication, if you feel unwell or have any unusual symptoms
  • Watch for cramp in your arms, legs or stomach, feelings of mild confusion, weakness or problems sleeping
  • If you have these symptoms, rest for several hours, keep cool and drink water or fruit juice. Seek medical advice if they get worse or don’t go away.

If you suspect someone has heatstroke

  • Remember, heatstroke can kill. It can develop very suddenly, and rapidly lead to unconsciousness. If you suspect someone has heatstroke, call 999 immediately.
  • While waiting for the ambulance, move the person somewhere cooler if possible, increase ventilation by opening windows or using a fan and cool the affected person as quickly as possibly by loosening their clothes, sprinkling them with cold water or wrapping them in a damp sheet. If they are conscious, give them water or fruit juice to drink.
  • DO NOT give them aspirin or paracetamol.

HSE advises everyone to enjoy the sun but protect themselves against skin cancer

With Ireland experiencing it’s hottest summer in decades, the HSE National Cancer Control Programme is this week advising people to enjoy the good weather but to protect themselves against skin cancer.

Irish Water

Conserve Water

Every effort you make at home or at work will help

As the warm weather continues, the demands on water supplies is outstripping supply across the country. Irish Water’s priority is to minimise the impact on homes and businesses, particularly during this period of holidays and high tourism. We are asking the public to please conserve water wherever possible to avoid putting more supplies at risk. Every small thing you do to save water in your home and business will benefit your community.

Here are some simple things that you can do as part of your daily routine at home help conserve water.

Restrictions for parts of Dublin and Wicklow as Irish Water works to protect future supply

Over 25 schemes across the country already on restrictions

Irish Water working with the local authorities in the Greater Dublin Area which includes parts of Wicklow, Kildare and Meath have formulated a plan that focuses on the introduction of night time water restrictions in a bid to protect future water supply for homes and businesses and avoid widespread outages in the autumn.

Irish Water and the local authorities worked through over 800 district meter areas to establish where water supplies can be restricted and for how long while minimising the impact to homes and businesses. This was balanced against how much water can be saved through these restrictions. Areas around major hospitals have been protected and pressure will not be affected in those areas.

Schemes have been categorised on a 0 to 5 rating to identify the level of risk and the level of intervention that is required.

Levels 0 – 3 will see no day-time restrictions.

Level 0 will result in no restrictions and water pressure will be maintained to accommodate peak flows over 24-hour period.

Level 1 will result in night-time pressures being reduced to minimal practical from midnight to 5am. The average 2-storey house will not see any change in service.

Level 2 will see a reduction in the pressure at night-time to the minimal that is practical for normal pressure to reach the ground floor of a two storey house. Most customers will experience low night-time pressures, but no loss of supply. Supply to some customers on high ground and at remote end of networks may reduce to trickle at kitchen sink during those periods. In multi-storey buildings, customers may experience low night-time pressures depending on their building pumping and storage system. The time period for Level 2 is from 10pm to 5am.

Level 3 will see night-time pressures reduced so that most customers will experience low night-time pressures, but no loss of supply. Supply to some customers on high ground and at remote end of networks may reduce to slight flow at kitchen sink during those periods. Customers in multi-storey buildings may experience low night-time pressures depending on their building pumping and storage system. The time period for Level 3 will start from 10pm to 5am and be extended to 9pm to 7am as required.

Level 4 will see an impact on day-time service where water pressure is reduced to minimal practical for average flow service to ground-floor only and night-time distribution network pressures reduced to minimal practical for minimum flow service capability to ground-floor only. Most customers will experience low pressures during day and night pressure reductions but no loss of supply. Supply to some customers on high ground and at remote end of networks may reduce to trickle at kitchen sink during those periods. Customers in multi-storey buildings may experience low night-time and day-time pressures depending on their building pumping and storage system. The hours for Level 4 are 10am to 4pm and 9pm to 7am.

Level 5 will see day-time water pressures reduced to minimal practical for average flow service capability to ground-floor only. At night-time there will pressure restrictions and shut downs of the network on a rotational basis. At this stage most customers will experience low pressures during day-time pressure reductions, but no loss of supply. Supply to some customers on high ground and at remote end of networks may reduce to trickle at kitchen sink during those periods. Most customers will experience full loss of supply during night-time shuts in their area. Customers in multi-storey buildings may experience low night-time pressures and day-time supply interruptions depending on their building pumping and storage system. The hours will be 10am – 4pm during the day and 9pm to 7am at night.

Level 2 Restrictions beginning Monday night at 10pm

A decision has been made to place the following areas under Level 2 Restrictions from 10pm to 5am, beginning this Monday night:

City Centre North and South

Smithfield

Phibsboro

Drumcondra

Cabra

Whitehall

Finglas

Beaumont

Marina

Eastwall

Inchicore

Crumlin

Ballyfermot

Kimmage

Walkinstown

Chapelizod

Ranelagh

Rathgar

Ballsbridge

Donnybrook

Sandymont

Ringsend

Clondalkin

Lucan

Tallaght

Templeogue

Ballyboden

Rathfarnham

Dalkey

Killiney

Ballybrack

Shankill

Cabinteely

Bray

No current plans to go above Level 2 in the Greater Dublin Area.

There are no current plans to go above Level 2 in the Greater Dublin Area. There are already over 25 schemes across the country already on restrictions. These are listed on our Water Shortage Updates page.

Speaking about this move, Irish Water Engineer and water conservation expert, Kate Gannon, said:

Introducing restrictions was an option that Irish Water hoped could be avoided because of the inevitable impact on homes and businesses. The decision to lock down the restrictions to these areas was not taken lightly. If any customers are being adversely affected please call our Customer Care helpline on 1850 278 278 and this will allow us to identify any areas where an undue impact is being felt.

The Department of Agriculture

The Department reminds all animal owners to ensure their animals have adequate water supplies during the hot spell. Dedicated helpline to report incidents of Animal Cruelty @ CallSave: 0761 064408 or 01 6072379 or email animalwelfare@agriculture.gov.ie

Teagasc

Fodder/Drought Clinics for Farmers

Teagasc has set up a help line for farmers who want to speak to an advisor regarding options for feeding stock given the continuing decline in grass growth rates throughout the country. Farmers can contact this help line at 087- 7971377 from 9am to 9pm each day. There are also a series of clinics and events taking place around the country where advice will be available for farmers.

Water Safety

Five drown per fortnight - Know the drowning risks to avoid summer tragedy

Irish Water Safety, Coast Guard and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution have issued a joint appeal reminding the public to stay alert to the risk of drowning at all times and especially in the current hot weather. On average, five people drown in Ireland every fortnight and the risks increase during July and August, the most popular months for swimming and other water based activities.

Key advice to avoid summer tragedy:

1. Swim within your depth and stay within your depth. Never swim alone.

2. Wear a Lifejacket/Personal Floatation Device when on or near the water and make sure that it has a correctly fitting crotch strap. This applies when boating but equally to both experienced and once-off casual anglers fishing from shore.

3. Supervise children closely and NEVER NEVER use inflatable toys in open water.

4. Swim at Lifeguarded waterways listed on www.iws.ie or in areas that are known locally as safe and where there are ringbuoys present to conduct a safe rescue.

5. If you see someone in difficulty, these simple steps may save a life:

  • Shout to the casualty and encourage them to shore. This may orientate them just enough.
  • Reach out with a long object such a branch or a piece of clothing but do not enter the water yourself.
  • Throw a ringbuoy or any floating object, call 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.

Spokespersons for the three organisations have reiterated their key safety messages;

Irish Water Safety: Know What You’re Getting Into

Coast Guard: Stay Afloat- Stay in Contact

Royal National Lifeboat Institution: Respect the Water

Reminder – If you see somebody in trouble in the water, or if you think they are in trouble Dial 112 and ask for the Coast Guard

Defence Forces support in respect of Slieve Bloom

The National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management, Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (D/HPLG) received a request from Offaly County Council Fire Services for assistance in relation to forest fires in the Slieve Bloom area. (Close to the Laois / Offaly border.)

D/HPLG formally requested the assistance of the Defence Forces - Air Corps and Ground Troops.

75 personnel have been deployed on the ground today.

  • 1 Engineering Officer Cathal Brugha
  • 39 personnel from 6th Battalion Athlone
  • 35 personnel from 3rd Battalion Kilkenny

2 Air Corps Helicopters and crew.

  • 1 AW 139 with bambi bucket
  • 1 EC 135 command and control.

The AW139 helicopter is equipped with a ‘Bambi’ bucket aerial firefighting system capable of dropping 1200 litres of water per pass. This amount of water, concentrated in a small areas, is understood to make an immediate impact on wildfires.

Inland Fisheries Ireland Inland Fisheries

Inland Fisheries Ireland is asking anglers and the general public to report any sightings of distressed fish which may be caused by high water temperatures and low water levels. Inland Fisheries Ireland is also asking anglers to voluntarily cease using ‘keep nets’ during this period to avoid causing unintentional distress to fish kept for long periods.

The public is invited to make reports of fish in distress to Inland Fisheries Ireland’s 24 Hour Hotline on 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24. Inland Fisheries Ireland staff will continue to monitor water bodies for any signs of distressed fish in shallow water, but will be able to react more quickly to timely reports received.

Useful Iinks

Irish Water Safety

Royal National Lifeboat Institution

Safety on the Water