Northern Ireland news

Hosepipe ban remains as heatwave continues into July

A little terrier squeals with delight as it gets carried up and away while racing through the street fountains in Derry city during the heatwave. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

A HOSEPIPE ban is to remain in Northern Ireland "for now" as the sunny weather continues - with demand for water almost a third higher than normal.

NI Water said its staff are work working "day and night" but some customers in more rural areas, including parts of Co Tyrone and Co Armagh, have been affected by supply shortages.

Temperatures peaked at 30C last Friday but another week of dry and sunny weather is forecast, with highs of up to 27C.

Sara Venning, chief executive of NI, thanked the public for their assistance in helping to reduce water usage - a domestic hosepipe ban came into effect last Friday evening - but said peak times were still causing problems.

The last hosepipe ban in the north was 23 years ago.

"Demand is still 30 per cent higher than normal... so we are still struggling to get water around the system quickly enough," Ms Venning said.

"By helping us, you are in fact helping yourself, as the ultimate penalty for using water unnecessarily is not a fine it is the heightened risk of widespread supply interruptions.

"We continue to maximise our water production and I am grateful to our dedicated workforce who are working continuously day and night to ensure we keep customers in supply.

"We have also been aided by a wonderful response from business who have supplied tankers to augment our own fleet enabling us to service reservoirs most at risk."

A similar ban - which does not affect businesses - is to be introduced in the greater Dublin area today and will remain in place until the end of the month.

People are being advised to use watering cans and to shower instead of taking a bath. Taps should be turned of while brushing teeth or shaving.

Meanwhile, a gorse fire on the Glenshane Pass which was burning for three days is now winding down.

Firefighters also dealt with a large gorse fire in the Bloody Bridge area of the Mournes over the weekend but it has been brought under control.

While the Met Office has issued warning for thunderstorms for parts of England and Wales, the sunshine is set to continue into the first week of July in the north.

Chief Meteorologist Will Lang, said: "The heatwave conditions will continue to affect pretty much all parts of the UK over the next few days.

"Although peak temperatures may not be quite as high as we have seen this week, we will still see temperatures widely in the mid to high 20s."

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