The Aran islanders may have a ban on visitors, but they are already critically short of drinking water.
Irish Water and Galway County Council have introduced restrictions on water use lasting 17 hours a day on both the largest island of Inis Mór and the southernmost island, Inis Oírr.
Prolonged dry weather resulted in the first set of restrictions on April 20th, when supplies on the two islands were curtailed from 9.30 pm to 8 am daily.
The extension from 5 pm to 10 am daily is necessary to “ensure continuous daily water supply is available for residents and businesses on both islands for hygiene and other essential purposes during this continued dry spell”, Irish Water spokesman Tim O’Connor said.
Inis Oírr has suffered from long-running shortage issues, with supplementary water having to be shipped out in recent years. The three islands have had a dramatic fall-off in demand for water, since voting to shut down all tourism, including summer Irish colleges, in mid-March.
“Had we the normal level of visitors, we would be in a very serious situation now,” one Inis Mór resident noted.
“We are asking customers on both islands to be mindful of how they use water and thank them for their continuous conservation efforts to date. We would
Irish Water said it was “working at this time, with our local authority partners, contractors and others to safeguard the health and well-being of staff and the public and to ensure the continuity of drinking water and wastewater services”.