Longford County Council is to convene a special meeting to address the worsening water crisis in the county following last week’s meeting of Longford County Council.
Cllr Martin Mulleady told the recent meeting that business people in Drumlish felt very aggrieved with the council over the introduction of water restrictions because many of them were unable to sustain business throughout the festive period as a result of those restrictions.
The meeting heard that water levels at the Knockahaw Reservoir which supplies Longford town and the surrounding areas reached a critical level on December 28 last because the demand for water exceeded the supply available.
“The council had no alternative but to restrict water supply at night time in order to restore water levels and to ensure that water was available to the greatest possible number of consumers each day,” explained Ciaran Murphy, Longford County, Council, who added that similar difficulties in the north and south of the county also resulted in a disruption to supplies.
“The council restored supplies each morning. However, there were intermittent difficulties and loss of supply and pressure in some areas. The council made every effort to keep the water supply as late as possible on December 31 last to facilitate the New Year’s Eve celebrations. However, this was not possible in all areas, for example pressure problems occurring due to leaks in the Drumlish area.”
Cllr Martin Mulleady (FF) then said that business people in Drumlish were infuriated by the lack of water made available to them - particularly on New Year’s Eve - and he said that the “whole situation” had an adverse effect on businesses in the area over Christmas and New Year.
“Business people are paying water rates in Drumlish and they are very unhappy about the water situation,” explained the local area representative.
“They have told me that they are not going to pay water rates going forward because of the situation and therefore I would be hoping that the director of services and the county manager would do something that would assist everybody concerned.”
The meeting then heard that it is the local authority’s intention that repair work by developers will begin in the coming days and that it would provide both advice and guidance to the developers in an effort to ensure that supply is restored as quickly as possible.
“Repair works by developers will be commenced in the next few days and the council will be providing advice and guidance to developers in order to try and ensure that supply is restored as quickly as possible,” explained Mr Murphy who added that while the repairs were being carried out, intermittent disruptions to the service could occur as a result.
“The council has provided standpipes to enable householders to get water until the repairs are completed and regrets the inconvenience that has been caused because of the disruptions to the water service.
“Longford County Council is awaiting the approval of the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government to appoint a contractor for the rehabilitation of existing water mains in Longford town and we have also applied for approval to commence site investigation for the rehabilitation of water mains in Drumlish, Lanesboro, Granard and Edgeworthstown,” he said.
Cllr Gerry Brady (FG) then told the meeting that it was his understanding that a plan had been in place for the development of two new reservoirs in the county.
“Sure, if these plans were fulfilled the supply and quality of water would immediately improve,” he said, adding that the north Longford water supply should be removed from the Prucklish line and added to the Lough Gowna water supply.
Cllr Peggy Nolan then told the meeting that many people who did not have a water supply were not able to access their heating or back boilers and were therefore burdened with addition fuel costs in an effort to heat their homes.
“The water situation in this county is unacceptable and the public are extremely annoyed about it. I am proposing that we hold a special meeting in relation to the matter.”