The Irish Water Crisis Management Team was mobilised over the weekend and has overseen the impact of the storm on water and wastewater centres from the National Operations centre in Dublin along with the Operations teams in each of the three regions. The principal impacts were loss of power to treatment plants and pumping stations, pipeline bursts which couldn’t be repaired until conditions were safe for crews and direct damage to facilities. Irish Water are currently working with the ESB and the local authority staff to restore water and secure supply for customers around the country.
At the moment Irish Water estimate that there are:
69,000 customers with no supply (down from 109,000 at the peak)
Where customers were reliant on water storage this number has decreased by 260,000 to just over 100,000 and their full supply has been restored.
Counties worst affected by the outages are Cork and Waterford
During the last two nights, ESB Networks has been working on several of these schemes and we are confident that these numbers will be significantly reduced in the coming hours. In many other schemes, generators are maintaining power supply pending full restoration of mains service.
To meet the demands of those plants without power, working with the local authorities, Irish Water put 16 generators in place at drinking water plants. This has restored supplies to 78,000 people in the most impacted areas of the south of the country.
We have a further 23 generators on route to assist to restore supplies to 64,000 in the most impacted areas, particularly around the south of the country.
Irish Water is currently co-ordinating up to 30 water tankers to the affected areas and are working with local authorities to ensure we have more if we need them.
In Wexford, a number of customers in the county are continuing to experience water outages due to power cuts associated with Storm Ophelia. Areas affected at present include Bunclody, Kilmuckridge, Clonroche, Duncannon, Arthurstown, Ballyhack and Ballycullane village.
Irish Water is working with Wexford County Council to restore these supplies as quickly as possible. Where it is going to take longer to get power back, generators are being brought in where we can and water tankers being deployed to assist affected communities.
In the meantime we would ask that customers who have a water supply would conserve their water.
We also have a number of wastewater treatment plants and a significant number of sewage pumping stations where power failure is resulting in discharge of untreated or partially treated wastewater to receiving waters. As with drinking water, the number of installations affected are being reduced as power supplies are restored. We currently estimate that approximately 30 wastewater treatment plants are without power nationally. Our focus now is to get these plants fully operational as soon as possible.
The Irish Water Crisis management team will be maintained in place until these issues are fully addressed. Our focus is on working with ESB Networks to prioritise schemes for power restoration, looking at options for supplies which may continue to be affected including deploying generators where this is practical and making emergency tankered supplies available where necessary. We will be providing information to communities affected and contacting vulnerable customers who need support.
Irish Water would like to thank the ESB Networks for all their assistance during this storm event and where possible prioritising the restoration of power supplies to the water and wastewater treatment plants.
Irish Water is grateful for the commitment of its staff and those of the local authorities who are working to address the issues arising from the storm as quickly as possible. We are also grateful for the patience and forbearance of our customers during this event.