Ireland is traditionally associated with an abundance of water and we rarely stop to think of just how much water we use. Ireland's economic growth in the last few years has caused a severe increase in demand on the existing water supply; we've noted this in Longford too and know that ongoing work is needed to our water network in order that we may continue to provide clean water to meet growing demand.
As well as looking after the network, each one of us needs to become very much more aware of water conservation. What does this mean? It means using only the amount of water we need and ensuring that what water we do take from the environment is used efficiently.
Conservation starts with awareness so lets be aware of just how much water we use! In Longford we estimate that the average daily use is approximately 200 litres per person per day. How we use that amount of water is broken down into the following main activities:
(IPTS 1999 Low conservation technologies for efficient use of water in metropolitan areas, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, Seville)
There is no doubt that we can do a lot to conserve the amount of water we use by making improvements in our homes and modifying our water-use behaviour.
UFW (unaccounted for water) currently uses approximately 45% of total demand. A proportion of this is due to insufficient metering but much is due to leakage. Metering will be instrumental in helping us to source leaks and conserve water levels.
We have two repair crews in operation and one full-time wastewater inspector.
We fix roughly 150 bursts every year.
Many of the bursts that occur do not come to the surface; they disappear into porous underlying ground. Bursts like this can only be detected by vigilant monitoring of water flows, and the use of high tech apparatus - such as acoustic imaging equipment.
For more useful water saving tips visit www.taptips.ie