Water Tight!

Donegal County Council has announced a series of significant water restrictions throughout the county, as burst pipes and other water-related problems keep the county's plumbers busy.

Donegal County Council has announced a series of significant water restrictions throughout the county, as burst pipes and other water-related problems keep the county's plumbers busy.

As the thaw moves into its second day, garda are also warning motorists to be extra vigilant when driving and pedestrians are also being urged to take care on county roads and footpaths. In the run up to Christmas the Health Service Executive West confirmed a rise in the number attending A&E departments with injuries relating to falling on icy surfaces.

Liam Ward, the council's acting director of service for housing and building services, said the public were being asked to conserve as much water as possible, and to report any burst water pipes or mains as soon as possible.

Restrictions have been announced for parts of the Glenties, Donegal, Stranorlar, Letterkenny and Inishowen electoral areas, and Mr. Ward said that the council will monitor the situation on a daily basis. No time had been fixed for lifting restrictions as of yesterday.

The council's conservation appeal said the local authority was "recording significant increases in demand on a number of water supplies throughout the county during the current cold weather conditions - particularly during the thaw period. We suspect the increased demand for water arises from taps left running, burst mains which have not yet been located, leakage in private properties."

The thaw was also having an impact on county roads, with garda warning against motorists developing a "false confidence" during the somewhat increased temperatures. Freezing night temperatures will make slushy or wet roads very dangerous, garda said.

Garda Sergeant Brian Whelan said they were also asking people to keep in contact with their neighbours, "particularly those living alone, to call around and check on them, and not to assume that someone else will do so."

And the sergeant continued the Garda call for pedestrians to wear high-visibility jackets and to avoid walking on the roadway.

The arctic temperatures froze vital water supplies to farms as well, and the burst pipes that resulted are expected to drive farmers' water bills higher, it has been claimed. Donegal Irish Farmers' Association Vice Chairman, PJ McMonagle, said the thaw will "cost a lot of people dearly".

He said the situation this year was worse than the cold snap experienced in 2009 as the temperatures plummeted much lower than before, freezing water supplies and resulting in many burst pipes.

See pages 2 and 3 for details.