Twelve Tough Hours

Imagine getting ready to take a hot steamy shower after a long day of touring Inis Mor, the largest of the Aran Islands in Galway Bay. As I stepped into the shower I turned the nozzle up, turned the temperature gauge to the left and I expected the water to start flowing out, but the water did not turn on. I was confused, why didn’t it work? I walked into the other bedrooms and asked if their water was working. I watched as Emily slowly turned on the faucet and shower nozzle, but water did not pour out. I walked down the windy narrow steps of the hostel to the receptionist and no one was there. After a conversation with a Hostel employee the next morning, he informed me that earlier in May the Aran Islands inflicted night time restrictions on the public supply of water, due to a very dry spring season and historically low water levels. Locals on the island asked homes, businesses and visitors on the island to conserve water in every possible way, such as using only a little water to wash dishes and clothes, only flushing the toilet when needed and taking shorter showers. Originally the water supply was supposed to shut off at 11pm however the island decided to cut off the water supply at 8:30 pm due to the fact that the current restrictions were not sufficient enough. 8:30 pm to 8:30 am, a tough twelve hours that the water supply was shut off. I overheard two older men talking outside a local grocery store and I found out that it had not rained significantly in over two months, therefore the water tanks started to dry up. After eating dinner in Inis Oirr I found out that throughout the afternoon restaurant employees collect water from the faucet and put it aside for the evening after the water is shut off. The water that is collected is used to finish cooking customer’s orders and used to clean dishes. While I understand that residents and visitors should restrict their water usage during this dry season, I have never heard of any town actually shutting off their supply of water after a certain time. It must be very difficult for the employees to estimate how much water they will actually need that night. On the small island of Inis Oirr there is a large freshwater lake, Loch Mor however they can not use this water as drinking water.

Loch Mór

How could an island that is surrounded by water be forced to endure nighttime water restrictions.

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