A long day of travel by bus and one queasy boat ride later we arrive to the island of Inis Mor. As we get to our hostel we are given some time to settle. The place is quaint and homey. I decide to test out my bed as it was clearly calling my name. My head hits the pillow and unsurprisingly, I quickly go into slumber. When I awake, I realize that after an incredibly long day, I am in desperate need of a shower. I put on my towel and flip flops and head to the bathroom. Just as I turn the knob and wait for the sweet release of a stream of room temperature water, I am disappointed to see that nothing comes out. I open the faucets and flush the toilet and to my surprise, nothing! The whole hostel catches on quickly as we notice that we have no water in the entire building. We swiftly come to realize that the entire island’s water is shut off! Later on when speaking to one of the hostel employees she explained the full details to the Island water restrictions.
Jenna, who has been working at the hostel now for just about 2 years explained to us how there are currently water restrictions on two of the Aran Islands. The restrictions are to be extended indefinitely due to low levels of water supply. Because Ireland is known for having such a wet climate, it has one of the highest water availability rates in Europe. One might confuse this abundance of water for coming from the ocean since Ireland is an island covered by water on every side but in reality, Ireland relies heavily on rainfall as a source of receiving enough water to support its people.
Jenna went on to tell us that the water shuts off everyday during non peak hours from 11pm to 8:30 am. Rain in the recent months has not replenished water supplies to adequate levels and because of this residents are asked to check for leaks and to be mindful of their water usage when preparing food, bathing or brushing their teeth. That night we ended up going to the pub next door to work on homework and have a beer, to our surprise, pubs are the only place on the islands whose water isn’t shut off during the non peak hours. As if we needed even more of an excuse to spend our late nights at the pub!