PORTLAOISE has a large surplus of water in the town’s reservoir, yet some residents have received ‘conserve water’ notices within the past few weeks.
The strange anomaly was raised at a council meeting by cllr Catherine Fitzgerald, who said “alarm bells started ringing” when some householders received notices from Irish Water on 8 November last, asking them to conserve water.
at the latest meeting of Portlaoise Municipal District, Cllr Fitzgerald asked for an update on current water supplies in the town. Water services engineer Tom O’Carroll replied that the town has a water surplus of 2,000 cubic metres a day, with a total supply of 9,100m3 a day.
The engineer said the harnessing of boreholes in Coolbanagher is currently underway and is due to be completed between April and June next year, bringing an extra 3,000m3 of water a day to the Portlaoise area.
Cllr Fitzgerald said that while she was glad to hear there was a water surplus, she wondered why Irish Water was saying one thing and a council engineer was saying another.
“We have great plans in Portlaoise, but we have to ensure that we have adequate water supplies to get investment,” she added.
Cllr Willie Aird agreed and pointed out that the Clonad area has a problem with water pressure which needs to be resolved.
County council director of services Kieran Kehoe recalled that there was a severe drought from last April that led to water restrictions and a hosepipe ban during and after the summer heatwave.
Mr Kehoe said the council monitors water levels in the huge Portlaoise aquifer, which supplies water to Portlaoise, Mountmellick and other areas. Heavy rainfall in recent weeks has restored water levels and only 7,000m3 of water are used daily, out of a supply of 9,100m3 a day that is due to increase even more next year.
Mr Kehoe added that the council is also installing an extended ring main, which will increase water pressure in affected households.