'Conserve water' plea as temperatures set to soar

Residents in the east Antrim area are being urged to conserve water in advance of high temperatures this week.

It comes as the Met Office issued an amber warning for heat for Northern Ireland from today (Wednesday) until the end of Friday.

A spokesperson for NI Water said: “The storage in Killylane Reservoir is currently sitting at 58 percent. This is not unreasonable for this time of year and given the high temperatures experienced over the last few days. However, we still need customers to reduce their demand immediately. If everyone uses only the water they need, there will be enough for everyone.”

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Des Nevin, Director of Customer Operations at NI Water, added: “If demand continues at this level it will lead to failures in our network and some customers will lose supply or suffer low pressure. A number of customers over the past few days are already experiencing this, especially those on high ground.

Killylane Reservoir (archive image). Pic by Michael Cooper

“We are asking our customers to help us, especially over the next few days when temperatures continue to be high. We know from the increase in our night usage some customers are leaving sprinklers and hoses on overnight, please stop.

“A hose uses more water in one hour than the average family uses in a whole day.

“A pressure washer can also be a massive drain, so please think about whether the task is really essential at the moment.”

“While it is tempting, please avoid using swimming or paddling pools. Filling a 12-foot swimming pool uses the same amount of water 500 people use for daily hand washing.”

“We want everyone to enjoy their home and garden, we just need people to think about how they use their water and if what they are doing is essential.”

NI Water outlined a number of tips to save water in both the home and garden. They include:

- 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.

- 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, or 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, and use a bucket and sponge.

Last year, a period of dry weather and increased demand left Killylane Reservoir at its lowest level in two decades.