A shortage of water in Ireland - sounds like an oxymoron? There is usually precipitation of some kind and degree every day. Or as the national weather man once forecast, “We don’t know exactly where and when, but we know it’s going to rain tomorrow,” to the utter amusement of our visitors. Indeed it does.
Our house like all other farms outside the village weren’t on the mains. Neither was the sewerage nor the effluent. As right as rain? That phrase never held much water until our well ran dry. The well, our own water supply, was located on the highest field on a little hill and came to our house through copper pipes and by gravity. It had not rained for almost 4 weeks. Water pressure began to decrease and finally was reduced to a dribble. The outside water basin was still full. That water was used for the animals, watering of our new plants and seedlings, and during the last days of the draught for our toilet. I carried about 4 buckets a day upstairs to the bathroom. For our own drinking purpose I went over to the neighbors with a kettle a couple of times a day. This predicament lasted only a few days, but repeated itself that August. More than 2 good weeks a year? Absolutely unheard of but true in 1990 and nobody wanted it that good…
Storing water in reservoirs was a novelty back then. There are 7 reservoirs now in Ireland: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_reservoirs_and_dams). The Water Service Act of 2007 was introduced for times of draught. As of 2010 households on public water schemes will have to pay for their water.
All villages and towns around Lough Derg let their run-off (household and farm) directly go into the lake. The first water treatment plant was built around 2003 in Mountshannon. The popular boating hub on the Shannon, Killaloe, and all tourists on their boats on the lake, discharged their effluents directly into the lake. (http://www.discoverloughderg.ie/MapZone).
From one extreme to the other. If you heard of the recent flooding, the worst in donkeys' years, please have a look at my favorite Irish picture blog done by Paz to get an impression: (http://www.irelandinpicture.net/2009/11/floods-in-galwaya-typical-irish-winter.html).