NI Water is calling for people to take urgent action to reduce water usage, warning that current demand is outstripping supply.

The spell of warm weather and more people being at home due to coronavirus restrictions are being blamed for the increased demand.

NI Water says it needs to ensure everyone has sufficient water for hygiene and hand washing.

“If demand continues at this level, it will lead to failures in our network and customers in certain areas will lose supply or suffer low pressure,” Des Nevin, Director of NI Water’s Customer Service Delivery, said.

“Some customers over the past few days are already experiencing this, especially those on high ground.”

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

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon is also encouraging people to use water wisely.

“Now more than ever, access to clean water to allow us to wash our hands and keep hydrated is essential,” she said, adding that a hosepipe ban may have to be implemented if interruptions to supplies continue.

“Today I'm asking everyone to consider how they are using water and to do what they can to conserve it.

"Simple things like turning off sprinklers and hoses, not washing the car or refilling paddling pools, and taking showers instead of baths will help.

"Just turning off the tap while brushing your teeth can save up to six litres of water a minute.”

Hand washing continues to play a vital part of the fight back against the coronavirus and I’m asking the public to keeping playing their part.

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon

According to NI Water, 705 million litres of water were put into the distribution system on Saturday – 120 million litres more than usual.

“We are asking our customers to help us, especially over the next few days where the temperature will continue to be above 20C,” Mr Nevin said.

“We know from the increase in our night usage some customers are leaving sprinklers and hose on overnight - please stop.

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

“While it is tempting, don’t fill swimming or paddling pools. This is a waste of a precious resource. Filling a 12ft swimming pool in your back yard uses the water for 500 people’s daily hand washing.

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

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