Louth comes to Newry's rescue in water crisis

Louth County Council has come to the rescue of hundreds of householders in the Newry area who have been left without water following the havoc wreaked by burst pipes and leakage.

Louth County Council has come to the rescue of hundreds of householders in the Newry area who have been left without water following the havoc wreaked by burst pipes and leakage.

Louth County Council is to deliver at least 100,000 litres of drinking water per day by tanker to the Newry area. The move came as Scotland promised to send further supplies of bottled water while the region's water crisis is dealt with.

Mayor of Drogheda Paul Bell said the council acted after water had been restored to most homes in Louth and after people indicated they wanted to help those across the border.

Following discussions with Newry & Mourne District Council, and the restoration of normal water supplies to 95 per cent of households in Louth on Friday last, Louth County Council agreed to temporarily supply water from its treatment plant in Dundalk for use in the Newry & Mourne administrative area.

Initially, 10 tanker-loads of water (equivalent to 100 cubic metres) will be transported by Northern Ireland Water from Dundalk each day with the emergency supply arrangement subject to continual review.

"We currently have some spare capacity at our treatment plant in Dundalk and - having first prioritised the restoration of supply to locations within Louth - are now in a position to assist our colleagues at Newry & Mourne District Council in accessing a reliable and safe supply of water for homes and businesses in their area," said Des Foley, Director of Services, Louth County Council.

"This is a practical example of the type of cooperation that is ongoing between our local authorities and reflects the unprecedented challenges currently being faced around water supply."

Householders and businesses are again being asked to conserve water where they can, as improvements in supply are being made.

Resumption of normal supply is expected in most areas before the weekend is out.

Environment chiefs have warned that it won't be until later today (Wednesday, January 5) before the true extent of damage to business and industry is fully assessed.

Gerry Galvin, senior official in the Department of the Environment, said there are only a small number of areas across the country where authorities are struggling to meet demand.

He also said local authorities were making efforts to replace older pipe systems but warned that installing specially designed pipes less likely to crack or snap after a big freeze and sudden thaw could take decades.