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COMMUNITIES throughout the county are struggling to cope with widespread water shortages as a result of the recent respite from the Artic weather conditions.

COMMUNITIES throughout the county are struggling to cope with widespread water shortages as a result of the recent respite from the Artic weather conditions.

Thousands of people across Tipperary were left with frozen pipes over Christmas, with many having to refill toilet cisterns with buckets of water. Also, hundreds of people sitting down to enjoy TV on Christmas night were left without television when a transmitter in Tipperary froze over.

Levels in most reservoirs are now low due to burst water-mains, undetected leaks and people leaving taps running during the harsh weather conditions. Staff from both North Tipperary and South Tipperary County Council have been working to restore water to homes after numerous incidents of burst pipes were reported in towns throughout the county.

Many homes were left without water during the Christmas period but a thaw in recent days has caused further problems with burst pipes in many homes heaping further misery on homeowners.

Senior Executive Officer with South Tipp County Council, Aiden Fennessy has stated it may be necessary for local authorities to turn off water supplies to house holders without prior notice, as a precautionary measure.

In Clonmel the borough council has had to introduce cut-offs at various locations between 7am and 7 pm as a measure to deal with the problem.

In North Tipperary water demand is currently unprecedented due to the thawing of leaking pipes. The public are requested to get pipes turned off and repaired and to check property and farmers have been asked to check drinking troughs for leakages. All public water supplies are under severe pressure with disruptions occurring in many areas but particularly in Ballina with the public asked to minimise water usage.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Chorus/UPC customers were left without television on Christmas Day and into St Stephen's Day after a transmitter on Keeper Hill in Tipperary was damaged in the cold snap.

The transmitter broadcasts to four counties, including Tipperary, Limerick, Galway and Cork. A spokesperson said "hundreds" of people were affected when the transmitter crashed at about 10pm on Saturday night. Engineers worked throughout Sunday to repair the frozen hardware while angry customers left messages with Chorus.

The repair work took about eight or nine hours. The transmitter was back up and running by about 6pm on Sunday. "What happened on Saturday was something we didn't expect," said the spokesperson. "It caused a massive outage."

Most of those affected were country dwellers with TV dishes. Nenagh in particular, and most of Tipperary were affected. "The worst is behind us," added the spokesperson. "Next year, they will prepare for that. They're putting hardware on that transmitter to prevent that from happening again. The last thing people want is to have no TV over Christmas."