IT IS estimated that up to 10,000 homes, schools and business in Laois receive their water supplies from group water schemes.
With the current nationwide emergency, the National Federation of Group Water Schemes (NFGWS) is advising all who receive water from these supplies to make plans in the event of shortages.
In Laois, group water schemes operate in areas that include Raheen, The Heath, Portlaoise, Cullohill, Coolrain, Barrowhouse, Clonaslee, Portlaoise, The Rock, Spink, Vicarstown, Ballypickas, Donaghmore and Ballacolla.
NFGWS says that water demand has soared over the past week or so and it’s encouraging users to make plans in the event of water shortages.
The federation has circulated a Covid-19 action plan to help those using the schemes to ensure the continued supply of safe and wholesome drinking water to their members, while maintaining the safety and wellbeing of GWS board members and employees who deliver the service.
NFGWS chief executive Barry Deane said: “We are working with group water scheme boards throughout the country to ensure that contingency plans are put in place so that essential services can be maintained if and when critical staff become unavailable due to contracting the virus.
“Treated water in rural homes is essential for hand hygiene and sanitation; therefore, maintaining a safe and secure water supply in these challenging times is critical.
“As expected, domestic water demand is increasing as more people stay in their homes. To cope with this increase, it is important that citizens play their part in avoiding water wastage. We are asking people in the farming community to check drinking troughs and sheds to ensure that water is not being lost. We are also asking GWS members to report any leaks to their group water scheme boards and to avoid unnecessary use of water. We also ask businesses and schools that have had to close their doors to recheck their premises to ensure that urinals and all taps are turned off.”