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River Shannon water level high after Heavy rainfall

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Generally levels were between twice and three times the normal March weekly rainfall. (Stock Image)

Generally levels were between twice and three times the normal March weekly rainfall. (Stock Image)

Generally levels were between twice and three times the normal March weekly rainfall. (Stock Image)

Recent heavy rainfall has lead to a dramatic rise in water levels on the Shannon with the ESB taking action to increase the flow of water.

Rainfall well above normal levels was recorded in the last seven days, with between twice and three times the normal March weekly rainfall, but even higher in some parts of the mid-west, Met Eireann said.

The ESB, which manages the Shannon water levels, said that while this winter has seen relatively low levels of rainfall in the Shannon catchment, recent rains have led to a rise in water levels on the river.

Water levels on the Shannon, it says, can rise significantly in the days after a prolonged period of heavy rainfall.

It says it is monitoring the situation as the throughput of water at Ardnacrusha has been rising and the ESB's generating station is currently at full capacity.

As further increased flows arrive at Parteen basin in excess of this capacity, ESB is required to increase discharge levels at Parteen Weir by allowing excess water to flow down the original river Shannon.

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An aerial view of flooding downstream from the Parteen Weir in 2015

An aerial view of flooding downstream from the Parteen Weir in 2015

At the moment, the ESB is releasing an additional 50 cubic metres of water per second through the Parteen Weir, to relieve pressure on the system.

It says this relatively low level of discharge is a typical feature of operation during the winter months and is not associated with any downstream flooding.

However, it warns that downstream flooding may occur due to other factors such as peak flows on other river systems, localised pooling of water or blocked surface drains.

Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Flood Relief Seán Canneysaid while water levels in some areas in the Shannon catchment have risen by up to 1.5 metres above the levels a fortnight or so ago, they remain at levels which are well below those experienced during the 2015/2016 flood event.

“The ESB has provided for an additional discharge of 50m3/s at Parteen Weir over a five-day period which is based on the predicted level of rain that is forecast for the Shannon catchment over that time.

“This is another example of the continued commitment by the Shannon agencies to work in a co-ordinated way in managing the water levels on the Shannon,” the Minister.

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