Potential well discovered in Library Square

The water can be used to save dying tree

Photo by Joe McCallion for Trinity News

A possible well was discovered yesterday in Trinity’s Library Square, to the delight of those concerned about ongoing drought conditions.

Provost Patrick Prendergast took to Twitter to announce the news. Prendergast tweeted: “Culvert and possible well discovered today in Library Square @tcdDublin. We can now use it to water the tree which is dying of thirst.”

The culvert, a tunnel carrying water underground, is set to be used to bring water to the tree on Library Square, which has been deprived of water due to the lack of rain over the last three weeks.

A spokesperson for Estates and Facilities explained to Trinity News that two areas of weakness in the ground were discovered during recent works in Library Square. “Investigation of one of these led to the discovery of an underground water storage structure. We are investigating further with colleagues and archaeologists to try to determine the purpose and history of this structure.”

Speaking to Trinity News, Estates and Facilities Engineering Services Manager Kieron McGovern confirmed that Trinity has been considerably affected by the ongoing lack of rain. “The protracted dry spell has had a significant impact on the grounds of the campus,” explained McGovern. “The grounds have become dried out and much of the grass has become scorched.”

College has deferred non-essential maintenance operations requiring water until later in the year, McGovern confirmed to Trinity News. Well water is being used for “limited landscape watering” on campus, including the watering of the rugby pitch. This original well is located beside the O’Reilly Institute on the east side of campus. The discovery of a potential new well in Library Square would open an additional supply on the opposite side of Trinity’s main grounds.

While Trinity has continued to receive water supplies from Irish Water, the overall national supply system is operating at its limit, according to McGovern. College is calling on staff and students to “assist in minimising water consumption and to report immediately if they become aware of any leaks” as the drought conditions continue.

The lack of rain over the last three weeks has raised concerns among Trinity staff and students. Speaking to Trinity News, Chair of the Environmental Society (Enviro Soc) Izzy Jorgensen explained that the absence of rain combined with a soil moisture deficit of 60mm threatens to have a severe impact. “Ireland is reliant on groundwater resources, its reservoirs do not have immense storage capacity, and its water infrastructure is outdated and prone to leaks,” Jorgensen said.

“As a student of environmental sciences, I am hesitant to label any singular weather event as evidence of climate change. Luckily, I don’t have to, because this is not a singular event. Storm Ophelia, two snow storms in Dublin, and now a drought, all in under 12 months. In my opinion, that is the start of a trend indicative of climate change,” Jorgensen continued.

Lauren Boland

Lauren Boland was the Editor of the 67th volume of Trinity News. She is an English Literature and Sociology graduate and previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.