Water security is always something that I think about – global water security and critically – Irish. On March 15th this year, President Michael D. Higgins called for all Traveller sites, including temporary ones, to be provided with electricity and running water.
Imagine not having running water.
We use and are very familiar with, the examples often of women and children walking for up to 6 hours per day to collect water – in water scarce regions of the world. But on our doorstep we have Irish citizens without running water on a daily basis.
In February we saw a ‘Do Not Drink’ Notice Issued to the Kimaley/Inagh Group Water Scheme – which meant that more than 6,000 people were to be without household drinking water in Co Clare. On March 31st it was reported that for six weeks after their group water scheme became contaminated with aluminium, the group scheme was still not usable. In the midst of the Covid-19 health crisis, it people’s cocooning efforts significantly more difficult. However, in April, after 7 weeks without running water – the Kimaley/Inagh Group Water Scheme supply was back in action again.
I know that things happen that can impact supply, but we need to think about how to reduce these occurrences and how to implement mitigation measures to ensure people have a running water supply – particularly at times like these, during the COVID-19 crisis.
In addition we need to remember that the resilience of supply depends on our sources of water for abstraction, their protection and availability. Protection of the sources of abstraction from pollution is critical to ensure the effectiveness of the water treatment process. More than ever we need to see protection measures implemented and legislation complied with. This includes the managed use of pesticides and application of fertilisers as well of soil protection – in order to prevent erosion and increase in turbidity of the water.
In times of climate change stresses, including reduced rainfall, the reservoirs may not be as full as we need. With all the hand washing, and extra cleaning that we are doing, and this is very important, we need to remember even more, how critical it is not to waste the precious resource.
So let’s remember to speak up for those that don’t yet have a running water supply. And, let’s not take for granted that we have this resource. Each person can play their part.
Ní neart go cur le chéile!
There is no strength without unity – and that means everyone has a role to play in protection of our water.