North involved in transporting water to Republic after thousands in Louth and Meath affected by supply crisis
THE north has joined in the emergency transporting of water across the Republic to help thousands of households affected by a supply crisis in Louth and Meath.
Irish Water said tankers and containers have been mobilised across the country, including from Northern Ireland Water, as reservoir levels are left "critically depleted" following a burst main pipe.
Tens of thousands of households and businesses in parts of Drogheda and East Meath have been without water since Friday due to the burst main.
Water supplies are not expected to be restored until Thursday.
Irish Water has said it has mobilised water tankers and containers from across the country as part of its response to the shortage.
The supply has had to be shut off to necessitate repair works to the water main.
"Storage reservoir levels are now critically depleted leading to further water supply disruptions in Drogheda and parts of East Meath including Duleek, Lagavoreen, Donore, Ashbourne, Stamullen, Kentstown, Kilbride, Ratoath and Ardcath," Irish Water warned.
A rotating water roster to ration supplies has been temporarily suspended to try and raise reservoir water levels.
Supply in Drogheda has been completely shut off to ensure supply to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.
Louth Labour Senator Ged Nash has hit out at the "cack-handed response" of the authorities to the crisis.
"Frustration is growing by the hour as Irish Water's own deadlines continue to be missed.
"The patience of the people of Drogheda has been stretched to the limit because of poor and unclear information, missed deadlines and entirely inadequate contingency plans," he said.
Senator Nash said: "There has been nothing like the mobilisation of crews to provide water stations and information that people should be entitled to expect.
"There has been no direct door-to-door communication from Irish Water or visible attempts to, for example, engage directly with older citizens living on their own and to provide for their needs."
The burst at the Staleen Water Treatment Plant occurred on Friday morning. Irish Water said that works to repair the water main have proved to be more difficult than first anticipated, due to the age and type of pipe.
The burst is located more than four metres underground and requires a complex repair.
The plant supplies drinking water to Drogheda and surrounding areas, as well as parts of south Louth and east Meath, including Ashbourne and Ratoath.
Temporary water stations have been established at 21 locations in affected areas.