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‘Real concerns’ grow over water supply as heatwave looks set to last

Water storage levels will become 'real concern' if current demand continues

Armagh hot weather

Co Armagh might not see rain for up to a week – and even then it’s only a slight possibility.

As record-breaking temperatures were clocked in Armagh on Wednesday – and no immediate sign of an end to the current heatwave – NI Water is urging people to be use water wisely.

Tempeatures over the coming week are not expected to dip below 20 degrees – a sustained spell of hot weather which could impact upon water levels at local reservoirs.

Some might also find difficulty or notice changes to water supply.

While there is higher demand than normal across Northern Ireland, NI Water has said that people living in the Newry, Banbridge and Belfast areas may experience a drop in water pressure for periods of time.

It is asking the public to help reduce the high demand on the water supply system.

In the 1970s, the UK Government – concerned with water levels during drought-like conditions – urged people to ‘Save Water, Bath With a Friend’.

We are not quite at that stage yet, but NI Water warns that – if demand continues as it is – storage levels “will become a real concern”.

With temperatures having smashed through 30 degrees this week, there has been an increase in the demand for water in Northern Ireland of 130 million litres per day!

Des Nevin Head of Customer Services said: “As we all enjoy the good weather, Northern Ireland Water is working hard to maintain normal supplies across Northern Ireland.

“Staff in our treatment works have increased production by close to 25% to meet the  current demand which has risen from normal levels of around 570 million litres per day to a high of 700 million litres yesterday

“That means that each of us is using approximately 200 litres each day compared to the normal 153 litres.

“This increased production allied to the implementation of a well established water supply management plan, which includes increased monitoring of our assets and network, has enabled us to protect the supply of water to customers.

“However, we would ask the public to work with us as they can play a major part by helping to reduce demand. If demand for water continues at this rate, our storage levels will become a real concern.

“We would expect, and have seen, a rise in water usage particularly in rural areas where, for example, farms need more water for animal welfare, and in popular local tourist areas.

“However, we are asking everyone to think carefully about the use of water around homes and gardens.”

NI Water’s top ten water saving tips include:

1 Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth – A running tap can use 6 litres of water per minute.

2 Take shorter showers – Why not challenge yourself and your family to shower one minute quicker? In a year you could save up to 10,000 litres of water!

3 Take a shower instead of a bath – One bath can use up to 100 litres of water, whereas an efficient shower uses under 50 litres. But remember power showers can use more water than baths.

4 Lawns are great survivors – a sprinkler 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. Even when they look dry and brown, they’ll spring back with the first heavy rain, so avoid watering them wherever possible. Why not re use that water from the kids’ paddling pool and water the garden with it.

5 Use a bowl for washing vegetables – You can reduce water waste by using a bowl to wash and prepare your vegetables. Then you can use the water to rinse your recycling bin.

6 Make full use of your washing machine – Half load programmes on washing machines use more than half the water and energy of a full load, so wait until the machine is full before switching it on.

7 Turn off the tap – Simply turning off the tap while washing your hands or shaving can save over 6 litres of water every minute!

8 Fix leaking taps – A dripping tap can waste more than 60 litres of water per week.

9 Keep a jug of water in the fridge – Planning ahead means there is no need to run the water until it gets cold.

10 Fill the kettle with only as much water as you need – This will save water and energy.

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