What to do if your water supply is reduced or restricted during the hot weather: Water and Public Health

Public health advice

Stay hydrated:

  • Make sure you have enough water to drink. It is important to stay hydrated.
  • Fill jugs or containers of water during the day or when the water from your drinking water tap is flowing well. Cover and leave in the fridge.
  • If you are concerned that you will not have enough to drink, buy bottled water.
  • Bottled water can be used for drinking and cooking.
  • Bottled water can also be used to make up infant formula.
  • It is important that everybody, including older people, stay hydrated by drinking enough water or liquid. It is easy for all of us to forget to drink enough.
  • An adult needs approximately 2 litres of liquid over 24 hours. This may be less for smaller people or those with medical conditions.
  • It is best not to drink tea or coffee because they contain caffeine which can add to dehydration.
  • Alcoholic drinks also cause dehydration.

Keep your baby hydrated:

  • It is very important to keep babies hydrated.  Make sure they drink enough fluids.  
  • Bottled water can be used to make up infant formula.
  • It is best not to use bottled water labelled as ‘Natural Mineral Water’ to make up infant feeds as it can have high levels of sodium (salt) and other minerals. However, it rarely exceeds these levels and can be used in an emergency.
  • If bottled water is used to make up infant formula it should be boiled (rolling boil for 1 minute) once.  Cool it (out of reach of children) in the normal way.  Do not re-boil.
  • Ready-to-use infant formula that does not need added water can also be used.

Keep cool:

  • It is important to keep cool.
  • A short cool shower or shallow bath can help with this.
  • Babies can be sponged down with cool water.

Maintain hygiene:

  • It is important to maintain good hand hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water before cooking food, eating, after using the toilet and after changing nappies.
  • If you do not have enough running water to wash your hands at other times, use an alcohol-based hand gel.
  • Alcohol-based hand gels can be used in all instances if there is no water available to wash your hands.  

Make sure your water is safe to drink:

  • If Irish Water or the Local Authority delivers water by tank into your area, you will be advised to boil it before using.
  • If it is necessary to boil the water from your drinking water tap in your kitchen, you will be told to do this by Irish Water or the Local Authority.
  • If a boil water notice is put on your water supply it means that you should boil your water before using for drinking, brushing teeth, and preparing food and ice.
  • If you use an alternative water source, such as an old well or a neighbour’s well, you should be sure that it is safe to drink. If in any doubt, boil it before using.
  • Do not drink untreated water from a lake, river, spring or unsupervised well (like a holy well).

Conserve water:

  • Save water that is not suitable for drinking for other uses such as washing clothes, pouring into the toilet to flush or watering plants.
  •  It is sensible not to wash cars or water lawns until the supply is fully restored.