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County dealing with fall-out from Storm Emma


CLEARING THE WAY A shop owner trying to clear the heavy snow blanket in Westport this Morning. Pic: Paul Mealey

Water supply struggling to meet demand of ‘exceptionally high usage’ due to taps left running

Anton McNulty

Water treatment plants in many parts of Mayo are struggling to keep up with water supply demands with many people leaving taps running to avoid pipes freezing.
Irish Water, in partnership with Mayo County Council, stated that they are experiencing ‘exceptionally high usage’ and are asking customers to conserve water.
“High demand is being registered on the Achill, Mulranny, Erris, Louisburgh, Ballina, Castlebar and Lough Mask water supply schemes due to, more than likely, taps being left running in peoples’ homes,” a statement issued by Irish Water this lunchtime read.
“Customers are being asked to conserve water to avoid reservoirs emptying and water pressure to homes and businesses being affected. Irish Water is urging customers to conserve water by not running dishwashers or washing machines where possible and taking showers instead of baths,” they stated.

‘Extremely difficult’
The freezing temperatures and snow are causing a major concern for farmers in the county, with many left without water for their animals due to frozen pipes.
“The weather is making things extremely difficult and dangerous for farmers but the biggest concern at the moment is water. Even if farmers have cattle and sheep inside, a lot of pipes are frozen and they can’t get water to them. It is very difficult for farmers when they cannot source water,” explained IFA Connacht Regional Chairman, Padraic Joyce.
Meanwhile, a Status Orange weather warning remains in place for Co Mayo until 6pm this evening, after snow fell on much of the county overnight. Met Éireann stated that the rest of today will remain bitterly cold with lying snow and ice in places and some further falls of snow, mainly in the western parts of Connacht. Temperatures are set to drop to a low of -2 degrees Celsius.  
The snow is forecasted to die out on Saturday, with light rain or sleet in places. It will remain cold, however, with temperatures expected to hit a high of just 1 or 2 degrees.
Mayo County Council Local Crisis Management team is continuing to meet on a regular basis to assess the status and forecasts. Martina Hughes, Head of Communications, confirmed that Mayo County Council’s roads crews treated all main routes in the county throughout Thursday, and that teams were out with gritters and snowploughs from 5am this morning.
“Mayo County Council encourages the public to continue to adhere to advice been given for this severe weather event. We encourage drivers to always exercise caution when driving in poor weather conditions. Be winter-ready, be prepared, stay safe,” she said.
Ms Hughes also confirmed that no emergency calls relating to the severe weather event have been received via the Council’s emergency numbers (below).

Other services
There have been minor power outages around Crossmolina and Bangor Erris, and ESB Networks says crews are currently working to restore supply.
All flights to and from Ireland West Airport Knock have been cancelled today, and the airport is closed. It is expected to reopen at 7am tomorrow, weather permitting. Passengers are advised to contact their airline before travelling to the airport.
Bus Éireann says it hopes to resume a level of services in some parts of the country tomorrow (Saturday) morning, dependent on the local road conditions after cancelling all services today.
“It is our aim to operate some services on the Expressway inter-city network, and possibly a level of regional city and town services, in less affected areas,” the company stated. “However, there will not be any kind of full service schedule tomorrow due to difficult and dangerous road conditions in many parts of the country. We apologise for the inconvenience but safety of staff and customers is paramount.”
Information on dealing with frozen pipes is available on www.water.ie, and water supply updates are available at www.water.ie/water-supply/supply-and-service-update.
The emergency contact numbers for the areas of  Mayo County Council are Ballina, 096 76159; Ballinrobe: 087 9940183; Belmullet: 087 6579348; Castlebar: 094 9034706; Claremorris: 086 0450200; Westport (South): 087 6474150; Westport (Newport and North): 087 6540206. Swinford links to the Ballina out of hours number.

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