Government Bodies Join Forces in Waterwise Appeal
29 July 2021 15:26
NI Water, the Department for Infrastructure and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) would like to thank the public for their actions over the last few weeks to reduce demand on the water supply system. The situation may have improved slightly but the group are encouraging everyone not to become complacent and to continue to use water wisely.
NI Water has moved a staggering 38.5 million litres of water by tanker across Northern Ireland since the ‘High Demand’ incident began on 16 July. 36 tankers have carried 1800 loads of treated water to reservoirs which were struggling to cope with customer demand. The mammoth operation involved staff from across the business making sure the tankers continued to operate 24/7.
Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon reinforces the message:
“Now more than ever, with the ongoing pandemic, we all need to ensure everyone has sufficient water for hygiene and daily use.
“This is one of the largest movements of water across the network by tanker that NI Water has ever carried out. It is a complex process with every tanker cleaned and sterilised as well as ensuring staff availability throughout the night to drive and fill the tankers. Scientific teams are also on hand sampling the water to ensure it continues to meet stringent quality control checks.
“I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to the public and all our stakeholders and partner organisations for their efforts so far in helping to save water and I appeal to everyone to continue to reduce unnecessary use to protect supplies throughout the summer months.”
Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots added:
“DAERA would like to join NI Water and the Department for Infrastructure in thanking the public for their support in conserving water so far and would encourage businesses, farmers and councils to continue use water wisely.
“Some rain is here, but it has still been a dry summer, which puts pressure on our water sources, which are essential for farmers, small businesses and local councils. Our bodies of water, including rivers and lakes, have taken a major hit to their levels and we must still be vigilant in how we use water so they can recover.
Des Nevin, NI Water’s Director of Customer Operations, concludes:
“Any rainfall is welcome, however NI Water does not anticipate that it will have the impact on the raw water reservoirs that they need and is monitoring the situation continuously.
“This summer has seen much lower than normal levels of rainfall and the continuation of the warm weather and very low levels of rainfall is putting an increased strain on our sources of raw water. We continuously monitor raw water storage in our reservoirs but storage levels vary and depend on a number of factors. For example;
- Rain needs to fall in the right areas - less than half of the land surface area of Northern Ireland acts as raw water catchment for reservoirs.
- Soil moisture levels are at a record low - the prolonged spell of hot, dry weather has led to record low soil moisture levels. Where rain falls on very dry soil it rehydrates the soil first and will only flow into reservoirs once the soil is sufficiently hydrated.
“We are seeing a situation where the demand on water supply has reduced over recent days and we would thank those customers who have helped us by using water wisely during this period and I would appeal to all our customers to continue to think about how they are using water at all times.”
Some of the easiest tips to save water that can make a massive difference include:
Additional Tips for Garden:
- Lawns are great survivors - a sprinkler can use as much as 1,000 litres of clean drinking water in a single hour; more than a family of four would use in a whole day. Even when they look dry and brown, they’ll spring back with the first heavy rain, so avoid watering them wherever possible
- Buy water efficient plants - If you are buying new plants now the garden centres are open look out for water efficient plants that still brighten your garden
- Be pot savvy - If you’re potting up or planting containers, use ones made from plastic, glazed terracotta or wood. These tend to lose less water than bare terracotta. Bury a short length of pipe into your pot; if you water into the tube the water goes directly to the roots where the plant needs it most
- Mulch weeds away - Use mulches like bark chips or gravel to retain moisture and keep weeds down.
Tips for House:
- Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth - A running tap can use 6 litres of water per minute
- Make full use of your washing machine - Half load programmes on washing machines use more than half the water and energy of a full load, so wait until the machine is full before switching it on
- Take shorter showers - Why not challenge yourself and your family to shower one minute quicker? In a year you could save up to 10,000 litres of water!
- Take a shower instead of a bath - One bath can use up to 100 litres of water, whereas an efficient shower uses under 50 litres. But remember power showers can use more water than baths
- Car washing - Avoid washing cars and vans frequently, use a bucket and sponge.
NI Water are encouraging customers to sign up to its free text alert service which keeps them updated about anything that may impact on their water supply or any of our other services in the area. Sign up here https://www.niwater.com/register-for-keeping-you-informed/
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