Wednesday, 19th September 2018
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As dry as the Sahara

It seems that whenever the weather in Ireland goes a little bit extreme, we are somehow incapable of dealing with it. It has already happened so far this year with the snow that totally disrupted the country for about a week and also later on when some areas in the country were flooded due to excess rain. Now it is happening again because we are having to deal with a level of sunshine that is virtually unheard of in the country. And a level of sunshine that is going on for a good number of weeks at that.

Ireland usually has a temperate climate which means that we don't have extremes of weather, that we get a fair bit of rain and sometimes a little sun to even things out, usually in summer but that is never a given. Now this year we are getting levels of sunshine that are well outside of the norm and because it is outside of the norm we are unable to deal with it.

During the first week we had good sunshine we were being told that drought resisting measures would have to be brought in to some areas of the country. Now that we're nearly into the fourth week of such weather it has developed into a situation where it is being implemented over the entire country.

The hosepipe ban as it is being called is being instituted so that we can hold on to as much of our reserves of treated water as possible and people are being urged to save water in as many ways as possible.

What is not so often discussed is that the country is losing as much as 45% of it's treated water every single day and that to rectify this the Government will have to invest as much as 8.5 billion euro in order to remedy the situation.

Because we are so used to having so much rain in Ireland we very rarely give thought to the whole infrastructure that ensures how our water gets to our taps and how our businesses and farmers have enough of it to use.

To say that there has been an under investment in the sector over decades of various Governments is to putting it mildly. Now we are reaping the benefit of that.

It only seems to be when we experience extremes of weather, for us, that the weaknesses in our infrastructure becomes clear. By then however it is way too late to do something about it.

We might be experiencing a drought at the moment and many people might be suffering because of it, especially in the farming sector, but we are just unable to do anything about it other than the authorities issuing warnings about hosepipe bans and for people to conserve their water supplies as much as possible and to behave responsibly.

It is not as if we don't know that from time to time these situations occur so that we should really have already a plan in place to deal with them.

It takes time, and of course planning but who wants a country as dry as the Sahara and not be able to do a thing about it.


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