Friday 24 November 2017

ESB confirms it will increase flow of water from Parteen Weir - adding to flood pressure

Members of the Irish Army placing sandbags around a house in Castleconnell to protect it against flooding in the area. Picture: Arthur Carron
Members of the Irish Army placing sandbags around a house in Castleconnell to protect it against flooding in the area. Picture: Arthur Carron

Kathryn Hayes

HOMEOWNERS in flood risk areas along the lower Shannon River have been warned to expect even further flooding as the ESB increases the spill of water from Parteen Weir to ease the increasing pressure further upstream .

According to Limerick City and County Council the additional discharge together with the heavy rain on Saturday is leading to an increased risk of flooding, particularly in the areas of Montpelier, Castleconnell and the Mountshannon Road (Lisnagry).

One of the worst-hit areas in the lower Shannon is Springfield, near Clonlara in Co Clare where a number of families have had to leave their homes.

There are also other incidents of flooding on roads and motorists are advised to travel with due care.

In a statement issued on Saturday the ESB confirmed said that as the Shannon continues to rise the flow of water through Parteen Weir will increase to 405,000 litres per second  (405  cubic metres per second) on Saturday 12 December.

This is over ten times the normal release rate for this time of year.

This level of water flow is likely to lead to increased flooding of roads, land and property in the vicinity of the Shannon downstream of Parteen Weir including the areas of Springfield in Clonlara East Clare, and the Co Limerick areas of Montpellier, Castleconnell, Mountshannon (Annacotty) and the University of Limerick.

"The flow will increase to 405 cubic metres today and is likely to increase further later today or tomorrow Sunday," read the statement.

The levels in Lough Derg are monitored and regular assessments made of flows, however with further rain expected, the level of water flowing down the Shannon may increase further in the following days.

Residents living in flood risk areas along the Shannon in Limerick and East County Clare fear the likely spills from Parteen Weir would not be far off those seen in 2009, which resulted in the worst floods in decades.

During the floods of 2009, up to 500,000 litres of water per second was released into the lower Shannon at Parteen Weir.

The peak period for water levels on both the Limerick and Clare sides of the lower Shannon is now Monday and Tuesday.

 Council crews are dealing with a number of incidents and will continue to monitor the situation throughout the day.

Met Eireann has issued a status yellow rainfall warning for Munster with falls of very heavy, prolonged rain at times on Saturday.

The Council will continue to monitor the level of rainfall and potential flooding throughout the weekend and will provide a further update on the situation if considered necessary.

Council staff, assisted by members of the Defence Forces, are continuing to implement flood defence measures along the river bank and coordinate with local property owners at Montpelier, Castleconnell and the Mountshannon Road (Lisnagry).

The Local Authority indicated that road closures in the areas affected are expected and further details will be provided where necessary. In this regard the Council advises that the footbridge at Castleconnell has been closed.

Meanwhile, the Council is advising members of the public, particularly children, to avoid all flooded areas and to abide by the instructions provided by the Emergency Services and Council staff.

Flooding advice is available on Information included on the website includes advice on identifying flooding risks, protecting property against flooding, necessary steps to be taken if a property is flooded and accessing and repairing property damaged by flooding. Limerick City and County Council's Out of Hours / Emergency phone number, in the event of flooding over the weekend, is +353 61 417833.

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