Farm Ireland

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Farmers face flooding fears as Shannon waters rise 16 inches

A motorist is stranded in flood water near Ennereilly, Co Wicklow in January 2016.
A motorist is stranded in flood water near Ennereilly, Co Wicklow in January 2016.

Claire McCormack

WATER levels along the Shannon callows have risen more than 16 inches in two months, new ESB figures reveal. Water levels at Lough Ree have also increased by just over three inches since the end of July.

The latest figures, obtained by the Farming Independent, show that water levels at the Callows currently stands at 36.41 metres above sea level, while Lough Ree is just shy of 38 metres above sea level.

As fears over looming winter floods mount in the midlands, farmers in high-risk areas are being warned to have a back-up plan in place in case the floods arrive sooner than last year.

Although Professor Micheal Bruen, professor of hydrology at University College Dublin, said the rise in water levels may be down to above-average rainfall in September, he says there is also less scope for dealing with excess water.

"For a lot of areas along the Shannon catchment, it has been wetter than usual so that goes some way to explaining why there is more water around," he said.


However, after consulting historic flood records for Lough Ree and the Callows, he said the latest figures are higher by comparison.

"The figures are certainly in the higher range of summer or post-summer floods," said Professor Bruen.

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"They would be expected to be a bit lower. I would expect the levels to go up as we go into the winter, but we're starting at a higher level than normal.

"It leaves us more vulnerable if we do get a wet winter, we have less storage in the system to cater for more rain if it does come," he said.

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