Minister Eoghan Murphy & Minister Kevin Boxer Moran appeal to public for water conservation and wildland fire prevention, as drought set to continue
Eoghan Murphy, TD, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government and Minister Kevin Boxer Moran today (6 July 2018) appealed to the public, urging them to use water sparingly and to prevent wildland fires during this extended period of dry weather conditions, which is also bringing drought conditions.
“Irish people have shown themselves to be very responsible and community-minded when nature threatened us during Storms Ophelia and Emma. The same spirit, with each of us doing our bit, can enable us to enjoy the sunshine, while dealing with the issues the warm weather is raising for the country.” said Minister Murphy.
“The dry spell we are currently all enjoying has knock on effects for our country. We need people to act today to help manage the issues that will arise in the coming weeks. Conserve is our main message and I also want to urge people to keep an eye on vulnerable neighbours and friends” said Minister Moran.
They were speaking following a visit to Irish Water’s Headquarters in Dublin where the company’s Crisis Management Team are managing almost 1,000 water supply schemes to minimise potential reduction or loss of water supply. Irish water have extended their ban on the use of hose pipes in domestic settings nationwide as the warm weather, which the country has enjoyed, is forecast by Met Éireann to continue. Met Éireann also are forecasting only small amounts of rain over the coming two weeks and thus drought conditions will persist.
The Ministers were accompanied by officers from local authority fire services who are also appealing to the public to prevent wildland fires. Fire services are responding currently to between 130 and 160 wildland fire incidents every day. As the drought continues, the conditions for fire will get worse, the Minister said. This underlines the need for care to prevent wildland fires from starting. Controlled burning of stubble by farmers is banned by the Department of Agriculture. People visiting or hiking in the countryside should not light any fire. Reports indicate that a significant number of the current wildland fires are caused by careless discarding of matches and cigarette ends. This is putting pressure on fire services, who have had to call in the Air Corps helicopters to assist with some wildland fire-fighting this week.
Fire services are working with Irish Water to ensure that they can access waters supplies in urban areas where there may be restrictions on water pressure. Each fire engine carries 2,000 litres of water and this is sufficient to put out the majority of fires the Minister said, but it is important that restricted supplies can be redirected without delay to areas where fire services are fighting large fires in towns. Where practicable, fire services are filling their fire engines and water tankers from open sources – rivers and lakes – rather than taking mains waters for fire-fighting.
We are also urging people to be responsible and to take their rubbish and bottles home when they are out at the beach or in other recreation and amenity areas this weekend and while the good weather lasts.