A rolling shut down of water supplies in South Leitrim is expected to last until the end of this week as efforts are made to conserve existing water stocks and rebuild reservoir levels.
Irish Water customers across the south of the county voiced their frustration and anger on social media with some stating they are without water since Saturday.
Addressing Monday's Council meeting, Senior Engineer, Billy Lowe, explained that the Carrick-on-Shannon Water Treatment Plant produced most of the water supply for the south of the county.
Unfortunately, increased demand during the recent severe weather event has drained most of the water stocks available.
Part of the problem is due to leaks, but people leaving taps running during the cold weather has also led to a massive decrease in reservoir levels.
"By last Friday morning the reservoir was down by 10-20%," said Mr Lowe.
The falling levels resulted in an automatic shut down of the Carrick-on-Shannon plant at 4am on Saturday morning. This meant pumping was shut down for 5 to 6 hours, leaving supply struggling to meet demand.
A further shut down occurred at 1am yesterday morning (Monday).
"The reservoirs are now practically empty," said Mr Lowe. "The water is going out faster than it can be pumped in.”
Customers in high lying areas will be most affected by a drop in reservoir levels Irish Water and Leitrim Council are warning, and many of these areas will experience disruptions to their water supply while the system fully recharges.
The areas worst impacted include Drumshanbo, Ballinamore, Fenagh, Aughnasheelin, Keshcarrigan, Mohill, Cloone, Carrigallen and all Group Water Schemes in these areas.
Irish Water say there may also be a need to further restrict supplies in areas of high usage for a period of time until such time as the reservoirs have refilled and the networks recharge.
"We'll try and rotate the affected areas," Leitrim County Council Senior Engineer, Billy Lowe, said
"The reality is, if we lose an hour or two of pumping in Carrick-on-Shannon it takes us a week to recover water levels. This will be difficult over the next few days," he said.
To assist customers impacted by outages, water tankers are being sent out to selected locations.
Bowser/tankers of different sizes will be at the following locations today (Wednesday): Drumshanbo - Mart Road Drumshanbo; Gortletteragh - NS / Church;
Drumreilly - Church/ School; Aughawillian - Church/School; Corraleehan - Church; Kilavehy - McNamees Garage and Drumcong - School.
Further updates will also be provided on locations on Leitrim County Council's Twitter and Facebook pages.
Jobs under threat due to water shortages. Read more here
Customers voice anger on social media
Residents and commercial customers are taking to social media to voice their frustration with the situation.
One woman noted on Facebook that her family are without water since Saturday, while another asked why areas such as Mohill and Drumshanbo are without water while restrictions are only impacting areas like Carrick-on-Shannon between 11pm and 7am nightly.
Another facebook commentator said “In this day and age no one should be out of water” while another customers observed: “Maybe our councillors can advise why Carrick-on-Shannon is not having their water supply disrupted til 23.00 and it's confirmed it will be back at 7am. Are the people and businesses of Ballinamore, Mohill and Drumshanbo not just as important? They have had no water since 14.00 with no confirmed return time??”
One facebook user said the situation was “absolutely disgraceful” adding “Not a drop in Ballinamore” Absolutely disgraceful and what use is a tanker of water being at various locations for working people?”
Irish Water and Leitrim County Council have apologised to customers for the inconvenience caused and say they are working with Leitrim County Council to try and restore supply as quickly as possible.