The Chairperson of ICMSA’s Farm & Rural Affairs Committee, Denis Drennan, said that while there is no need “just yet” for alarm bells to be ringing 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.
The ICMSA Chairperson said that the basic minimum need for a dairy cow is 120 litres per animal per day and that has to be available or the animals become 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 €4000 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 concluded on a more general point by noting 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.
Mr. Drennan said the situation did not speak well for our water reservoir infrastructure or water management systems
Ends 26 June 2018.
Denis Drennan, 086-8389401
Chairperson, ICMSA Farm & Rural Affairs Committee
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office