Restaurants Association criticises Dublin City Council over water shortage

Wednesday 03 April 2013 22.22
Dublin City Council crews are in the process of locating and repairing leaks
Dublin City Council crews are in the process of locating and repairing leaks

The Restaurants Association of Ireland has accused Dublin City Council of making a "complete hames" of the current water shortage in the capital.

The council initially restricted the water supply for 12 hours each night from last Thursday.

It shortened the restrictions to between 9pm and 7am for yesterday and today, and will review the restrictions tomorrow.

The association's Chief Executive, Adrian Cummins, said that despite the fact that Dublin restaurants pay the highest water rates in Europe, their phone calls to the council went unanswered over the weekend.

Speaking on RTÉ's News At One, Mr Cummins said that restaurants are struggling to serve their customers and have had to resort to primitive methods, such as storing water in buckets, to keep their businesses going.

"My members are receiving local authority rates bills at the moment that the local authority want us to pay immediately for a service that we're not being provided with," Mr Cummins said.

"You need water to run a restaurant, to cook food, to clean up and to wash up and to provide a service, but the local authority has made a complete hames of this, three years on from the last debacle."

Earlier, Dublin City Council engineer Michael Phillips said he is optimistic that water restrictions in the capital will be lifted this weekend.

He said the Water Services Division will review the situation tomorrow to determine a plan for the weekend.

The shortage has been attributed to an algae problem at the treatment plant at Roundwood in Co Wicklow and leaks in mains pipes following the cold snap.

However, Mr Phillips said that work has been ongoing to deal with these problems.

"We have crews out all the time looking for leaks because 80% of these leaks do not appear on the surface, so we have to find the leaks and then repair them, and we've had crews out all over the weekend doing that.

"Secondly we have crews working in the production works at all times maintaining the plant to try and speed up [or] allow the water to flow more quickly, because the algae tends to clog up parts of the works."

Mr Phillips said that public co-operation with the water restrictions also helped to ease the problem.

However, he said that in the absence of greater investment in Dublin's water infrastructure, similar problems may happen in the future.

"Demand and production are very finely balanced and at any time, if two events come together, we'll have difficulties like we've had over the last few days."

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