Call to keep Waterford farmers up to date with water situation in dry spell
The chairperson of ICMSA’s Farm & Rural Affairs Committee, Denis Drennan, has said that while there is no need yet for alarm bells at national level, it is hugely important that Irish Water and other responsible bodies to communicate early and frequently with people in the event of there being water shortages or any limitation of supplies.
Mr Drennan said dairy farmers were particularly exposed and had to be mindful always that ensuring adequate water supplies for their cows was not a commercial consideration but actually is a key animal welfare issue
He pointed out that the basic minimum need for a dairy cow is 120 litres per animal per day and that had to be available or the animals became distressed.
He said that farmers took incredibly seriously their legal and practical obligations to look after their animals and anxiety was growing within the sector as reports circulated about cases where farmers have been told that there may be issues with water supply.
ICMSA was aware of one farmer in Kilkenny who was paying in excess of €4,000 per annum in water charges who had been told that there may be issues with his water supply.
Mr Drennan said that, obviously dairy herds could not be prioritised over people, but the farm organisation did feel it was incumbent upon those bodies levying often very substantial charges for supplying water to make available feasible back-up water supply facilities and explain clearly and frequently what the situation was.
He noted that farmers - like many other people - will be astonished that after eight months of continuous rain and barely six weeks of dry weather, that communities were being told that there’s a water shortage.
He said the situation did not speak well for our water reservoir infrastructure or water management systems