Friday, August 12, 2022

Olivia Kelleher

Irish Water has warned that 32 water supplies around the country are now officially in drought with dozens more in potential drought.

The National Incident Management Team at Irish Water has been meeting this morning to discuss the “escalating” situation.

Head of Asset Operations at Irish Water Tom Cuddy told the RTE radio News at One, that the numbers in drought are likely to increase.

“The weekend in particular is going to continue to be challenging. We have no rain at the moment. It is very hot, and it is going to be ongoing. We have a rainfall deficit here today. The ground is very dry. Rivers are very low.

“Demand is extremely high. In the urban areas in the Greater Dublin area the usage is over forty million litres greater per day today than this day last week. In holiday resorts and agricultural areas it is much higher.”

Mr Cuddy said that they can undertake short term interventions to make up the difference between supply and demand. However, that is not a realistic long term strategy.

“We are taking quite a number of interventions. For example, we are tankering water from supplies that have sufficient in to supplies that are in deficit. We can reduce the pressure on the overall network. We are doing quite a bit which is having little impact on people.”

Meanwhile, Met Éireann has extended a high temperature warning for Ireland until Monday morning.

The status yellow alert runs from 12pm on Friday until 6am on Monday.

Forecaster Gerry Murphy told the RTE News at One that “a very hot weekend is in store” in Ireland.

Fire spread

“The hottest time of the day in these conditions is two pm to three pm or in and around that time.It will be mostly dry today and Saturday.

“There will certainly be a much greater chance of showers on Sunday. We can expect temperatures of low to mid-20s on Monday, high teens to low twenties on Tuesday.”

Mr Murphy has urged the public to take care as Ireland is at risk of wildfires given the extremely hot and dry weather.

In Tallaght, in West Dublin a heatwave fire spread to within ten metres of nearby homes on Thursday before it was eventually brought under control.

Darren O’Connor, Dublin Fire Brigade station officer in Tallaght, told the News at One that the fire broke out at Kilcupper in Tallaght.

“It broke out at the Kiltupper road at the foothills of the mountains. Yesterday after five o clock we were called there, and we were there for about three and a half hours.

“It was actually a large field with dead grass and a bit of live grass. It hasn’t been used agriculturally and is just wasteland. It is two or three feet high. It produced a lot of flame and smoke.

“The wind direction was very favourable to us and was blowing the smoke away from the homes. “

He said fortunately there was no need to evacuate householders. Mr O’Connor added that grass and hedgerows are exceptionally dry at the moment.

“I was looking at the weather forecast. It is the first time in a long time that the humidity levels are down to the mid 30s which gives vegetation the opportunity to lose its moisture content really quickly. At nighttime then fires are down because of high humidity levels.”

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