Wednesday 28 September 2016

Residents warned further flooding 'may occur in River Lee valley'

Ralph Riegel and Denise Calnan

Published 09/12/2015 | 12:22

Protesters in Bandon demand flood relief
Protesters in Bandon demand flood relief

Cork has been warned that further flooding may occur in low-lying parts of the River Lee valley.

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The warning came as the ESB confirmed it must maintain water discharges from its reservoirs because of a critical build-up of water upstream due to ongoing rainfall.

"The heavy rain last weekend has increased water inflows significantly into the Lee Dam reservoirs at Inniscarra and Carrigadrohid," an ESB spokesman confirmed.

"On Monday, ESB increased its discharge from 150 to 180 cubic metres of water per second from Inniscarra Dam.

Richard Hazell, makes his way home through a flood near Cootehall, Co. Roscommon
Photo Brian Farrell
Richard Hazell, makes his way home through a flood near Cootehall, Co. Roscommon Photo Brian Farrell

"We expect to continue to spill at Inniscarra Dam over the coming week to draw down reservoir levels.

"There may be associated flooding of roads, land and  property adjacent to the banks of the River Lee downstream of Inniscarra."

Flooding in the town of Ballinasloe .
Pic Steve Humphreys
Flooding in the town of Ballinasloe . Pic Steve Humphreys

The properties most at risk are in low-lying areas of the River Lee valley on the approaches to Cork city.

The ESB water releases are not expected to pose any flood risk to Cork city.

Fiona Greaney and her 11 month old son Tommy at their home at Station Road in Ballinasloe . Pic Steve Humphreys
Fiona Greaney and her 11 month old son Tommy at their home at Station Road in Ballinasloe . Pic Steve Humphreys

"We continue to closely monitor the situation and are in communication with the local authorities and response agencies in accordance with our normal operating procedures," the ESB confirmed.

Meanwhile, water levels have fallen in the River Bandon and River Bridewell.

Aerial footage of flooding in Athlone area (Photo: Irish Defence Forces)
Aerial footage of flooding in Athlone area (Photo: Irish Defence Forces)

The two rivers caused havoc last weekend when they broke their banks and caused major damage in the west Cork town of Bandon.

Clean-up crews are now examining debris which was swept downstream into Bandon and which is now lodged against the town's bridges.

Meanwhile, shop-owners and traders in Cork asre preparing for a possible flooding in the city centre.

Paul O'Connor of Paul O'Connor Shoes on Princes Street said the majority of retailers in Cork would have changed their floors and stock storage in recent years in anticipation of flooding.

"This year I'm very covered," Mr O'Connor told Independent.ie.

"I don't have flood insurance which is a major worry for me.

"The big flood in February 2014 cost me €7,000 to put the place back together.

"We got rid of the timber floor and we raised the stock level rooms.

"At the moment I'm prepared but Cork has been lucky so far, while the rest of the country has been unlucky."

Mr O'Connor lost his insurance two years ago following a spate of flooding in the city centre.

"[Being uninsured] is a major concern," he continued.

"It restricts you in your everyday business, it restricts my stock-holding ability at this time of year.

"You always have to be conscious, thinking I only have 'x' amount of room and you have to keep your stock up on a level to prevent it being damaged.

"I had to reduce my stock by 20pc but I couldn't take the risk.

"Cork is a low-lying city and all the retailers have done similar things, anybody that works in Cork," he continued.

"All along Oliver Plunkett Street, the first thing you'll see is all the floors are tiled, no wooden floors.

"All the displays and stock will be a good 18 inches off the ground.

"And all of us traders would have a copy of the tide book, you're thinking ahead the whole time.

"The city functions normally like this on a daily basis but you need to be prepared, because you don't know when it will happen next."

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