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NI on brink of water crisis with warning supply could be cut to thousands of homes

Utility company advises against using hoses or paddling pools

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Water levels have dropped significantly over the good weather.

Water levels have dropped significantly over the good weather.

Water levels have dropped significantly over the good weather.

NI Water has urged the public to cut water usage – or face being cut off. 

The utility company has issued the warning amid fears of a network failure brought on by high demand in the current heatwave. 

The company is calling for urgent action from the public to reduce water usage as demand is outstripping supply.

Some have already faced difficulties and have seen their water supply lost. 

The company said there had been an increase in night usage suggesting some are leaving sprinklers and hoses on overnight. 

NI Water officials said it was essential to ensure everyone had sufficient water for hygiene and daily use, saying the use of paddling pools should be avoided.

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Des Nevin, director of customer operations, said: “If demand continues at this level it will lead to failures in our network and some customers will lose supply or suffer low pressure.

"A number of customers over the past few days are already experiencing this, especially those on high ground.

“Yesterday we put 695million litres of water into our distribution system, this is over 120m litres more than normal.”

Northern Ireland summer sun 2021 [Photos] Close

Caitlin Donnelly Enjoying  the hot Weather at Helen’s Bay on Thursday. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Caitlin Donnelly Enjoying the hot Weather at Helen’s Bay on Thursday. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 15/07/21 
Splashing around   during the hot Weather at Helen’s Bay on Thursday.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 15/07/21 Splashing around during the hot Weather at Helen’s Bay on Thursday. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

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Caitlin Donnelly Enjoying the hot Weather at Helen’s Bay on Thursday. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Mr Nevin appealed to customers to lend a hand, “especially over the next few days when temperatures continue to be high”.

To those leaving hoses and sprinklers on overnight, he said: “Please stop. A hose uses more water in one hour than the average family uses in a whole day.

"A pressure washer can also be a massive drain, so please think about whether the task is really essential at the moment.”

A spinkler can use as much as 1,000 litres of clean drinking water in a single hour, more than a family of four would use in a whole day according to NI Water.

While it’s tempting to use paddling or swimming pools at home this weekend, it should be avoided Mr Nevin advised.

“Filling a 12ft swimming pool uses the same amount of water 500 people use for daily handwashing.

“We want everyone to enjoy their home and garden, we just need people to think about how they use their water and if what they are doing is essential.”

The warning comes ahead of a what is set to be a sunny and very warm weekend with highs of 26 °C.

On Friday, there was a cloudy start to the day, particular in Fermanagh, Tyrone and parts of the north coast, with some mist. Otherwise, the day continued to be dry, with bright and sunny spells developing and very warm in any sunshine. There were maximum temperature of 25 °C followed by a fine evening with fog overnight.

On Saturday, there will be low cloud and mist which will burn away during the morning followed by sunny periods. A spokesperson for the Met Office said it will “[become] very warm or hot in the south and east. Sea breezes will keep the north coast fresher, with maximum temperatures of 26 °C”.

The outlook for Sunday and early parts of the week will be “mainly dry and settled, although a little drizzle possible in the north early in the day”. There will continue to be bright, sunny spells developing widely and it will be very warm in any sunshine.


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