Group water scheme users warned to ‘be wise’ during shortage

With water demand currently at “exceptionally high” levels, this has potential implications for human health – so group water scheme members are being urged to use water wisely.

Issuing the appeal, the National Federation of Group Water Schemes (NFGWS), has said that – with emerging evidence of sources being under stress in the GWS sector – there is a very real danger that the situation will deteriorate in the coming days.


This could happen due to high temperatures and lack of rainfall, which will inevitably put pressure on lake reservoirs and on spring sources in particular, the group warns.

Apart from having less water available, the increase of at least 50% in water demand currently being experienced in the sector is putting pressure on treatment systems also.

These systems have a design capacity and where this is exceeded treatment systems (and especially filtration) cannot operate as effectively.

This increases the risk of contaminants entering the drinking water supply.

While universal metering on most schemes has meant that plants operate well within their design capacity under most circumstances, the current level of demand is putting plants under severe pressure.

To add to this, the algal blooms that arise on many of the country’s lake sources are already putting pressure on filtration systems at this time of year, the federation has warned.


For spring supplies, as the aquifer is depleted, raw water quality suffers and this too puts pressure on treatment plants.

Any unnecessary usage that speeds up the depletion of these groundwater sources should, therefore, be avoided, the group has stressed.

For the above reasons, the NFGWS is calling on group water scheme members to think carefully about how they are using water, to check for leaks on their properties and to refrain from any and all unnecessary use.