Farmers get ready to count cost of freeze
Farmers could be facing a sharp increase in their water bills in the aftermath of the thaw out from the freezing weather.
The Arctic temperatures froze vital farm water supplies and the resulting burst pipes expected from the thaw will drive their bills higher as they count the cost of the damage, it has been claimed.
Farms across the county fixed with Donegal County Council water meters fear that burst pipes and leaks could leave them facing much larger bills for thousands of gallons of water they never used.
Many cattle farmers faced a constant battle to get water supplies to their animals over the Christmas period but the thaw is expected to present a further raft of problems which could see them billed for large volumes of unused water that has escaped from leaking and damaged pipes.
Donegal Irish Farmer's Association Vice-Chairman, PJ McMonagle says 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.
"We recorded temperatures of minus 16 degrees with temperatures of minus 10 in the day in our yard," he stated.
PJ said farmers could well face larger water bills as all their water supplies runs through a commercial water metering system.
"Their bills could escalate with the leaks as every drop of water that goes through them is measured. It is going to cost a lot of people very dearly," he stated.
"If you have burst pipe for say 48 to 72 hours that's a lot of water going through," he added.
He said he would advise many one with water leaks to report them to the local authority as soon as possible.