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High and dry


BRINGING THE DOG FOR A ... SWIM This kite surfer had a novel way of taking his dog for a walk on Carrowniskey Beach on Monday afternoon during another scorching afternoon across the county. Pic: Paul Mealey                                                            

Ciara Galvin

IRISH WATER says conservation of the county’s water supply is key as temperatures remain high in Mayo and across the country. Met Eireann’s Status Yellow weather warning will stay in place until this Friday, while demand for water is 10 percent higher than normal.
With demand across the county continuing to rise, Irish Water is urging the public to conserve water during the prolonged dry spell that has been predicted by Met Éireann.
Irish Water and Mayo County Council are monitoring all supplies across the county on a daily basis. The most at-risk areas that have been identified are the Lough Mask and Westport public water supplies and the Ballina area, covering Lacken to Knockmore and Bonniconlon to Crossmolina. Customers on these supplies are urged to conserve water ‘wherever possible’.

The hose-pipe ban introduced to the greater Dublin area could be rolled out nationally if conditions persist.
At the time of writing, the only water restrictions in the county were in West Mayo – at Ballygolman, Aughagower, Lankill and surrounding areas in Westport. According to Irish Water, these restrictions were put in place to allow the local Lankill reservoir to refill.
Several houses in the Cloonskill area of that catchment have been completely without water since Saturday morning.
“It’s exasperating,” one affected householder told The Mayo News. “We rang Irish Water, and we rang the council, and each told us a different story – one said drought, the other said leaks. Hopefully they will be able to put their heads together and sort this out soon. We can’t put on a wash or run a shower, and we’ve had to buy water for cooking and drinking. It’s a real pain.”
Irish Water’s Drought Management Team continues to meet daily and is monitoring water supplies and demand around the country by working with each local authority.  
Mayo County Council crews have been on the ground managing supplies, trying to control pressures and in critical schemes managing restrictions on night use to try to protect critical day-time use.
Irish Water is reminding householders, farmers and businesses to avoid unnecessary use of water to prevent any further shortages.
“We’re asking people to be mindful of their consumption – every action they take will impact themselves, their neighbours, their communities, their families – and to be responsible in their use of water is the main thing,” said Irish Water spokesperson Toni Burke.

Animal welfare
Irish Water has mobilised tankers across the country to fill reservoirs that are most at risk to protect water supplies and ensure customers have access to water.
It is also in touch with farming organisations and offering assistance where water shortage is leading to animal welfare concerns.
In critical situations, Irish Water will accommodate farmers who need to collect water by tanker where it can be made available to meet urgent needs.
Meanwhile, farmers themselves are putting plans in place to deal with the ongoing water shortages and slow growth.
Martin Gilvarry, Chairperson of the Irish Farmers’ Association in Mayo said that though Mayo farmers aren’t experiencing the worst effects of the weather, it ‘brings its own hardship too when it stays for so long’.
Mr Gilvarry said that grass-growth rates are considerably down. He urged farmers to intervene with concentrated feed sooner rather than later to ‘fill the gap’, as grass is scarce.
The IFA spokesperson was critical of the delay in allowing farmers to cut meadows and said this decision should have been made sooner.
As temperatures today (Tuesday) are expected to peak at 24 degrees across the county,  drought or near-drought conditions are expected to develop more widely.
Mayo County Council are urging people to exercise caution when travelling in the hot weather and gritting response crews are on stand-by to deal with the hot weather’s effect on the bitumen on the county’s roads. Last week crews were busy gritting the worst affected areas.
Though gorse fires are always a possibility this time of year, Mayo County Council say compared to other counties they have not noted major gorse fire incidents but are still urging people to be ‘mindful’ in relation to same.
The council Fire Department is warning people not to light fires, including camp fires and bonfires, either intentionally or accidentally, due to the extremely dry weather.
It is also reminding people to look after their animals, and warning dog owners to never leave their pets unattended in vehicles during the hot weather.
A member of the public was forced to break into a car at Old Head in Louisburgh at the weekend to rescue a dog that had been left inside in very high temperatures. The dog had been left in the boot with no water, while outdoor temperatures reached 29 degrees – making it between 40 and 48 degrees inside the vehicle. At 41 degrees, dogs can can get heatstroke, organ failure and brain damage in just 15 minutes. Leaving windows ajar has little effect on the car temperature.

Sunshine boost to economy
Mayo County Council has said the increase in tourism numbers can be felt in all parts of the county.
“As a county on the coast where some of the best beaches in the country are, of course people are going to come here. It’s fantastic for tourism,” said Head of Communications at Mayo County Council, Martina Hughes. “All of the local towns and seaside spots have been really busy over the last week. Now with the break up of the primary schools that will continue into this week.”
Though temperature are set to cool down to 17 and 18 degrees on Thursday and Friday, don’t pack away the flip flops: The weekend temperatures countywide look set to hit 23 degrees.

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