Sunday 16 June 2019

Temperatures and water levels pose threat to fish

The Owentaraglin River in north-west Cork
The Owentaraglin River in north-west Cork
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

Higher temperatures and falling water levels could result in an increased number of fish kills as the drought continues, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warned.

Rivers across the country are at, or approaching, record lows which is resulting in shortages of water available for treatment, but is also affecting native flora and fauna.

"The current flows being experienced are usually reached around late August in most rivers, and with little rainfall predicted for the coming weeks, it is likely that flows will continue to fall," it said.

It also warned that if water is abstracted when levels are low, it increased the risk of affecting the ecology of the river.

"If you're taking out water... you're reducing what flora and fauna have in terms of oxygen and that can have an impact."

There are concerns that wild salmon are not entering rivers due to high temperatures and low water levels, and Inland Fisheries Ireland said it was monitoring the situation.

"While salmon are still arriving in some instances, significant numbers of salmon are in estuaries and rivers at this time. Inland Fisheries Ireland continues to monitor the situation," it said, adding the situation changed across different river systems.

Meanwhile, Irish Water said it will begin assessing the effectiveness of night-time pressure reductions across large parts of Dublin and Wicklow next week when it has a full seven days of data. Restrictions were imposed from Monday night at 10pm, and it said there had not been an increase in calls from customers saying they had no water.

"The review of the GDA (Greater Dublin Area) will start on Monday or Tuesday next week to see how much water has been saved. In the Dublin area, the levels of usage vary so much during the week there's no point in making a judgment after a couple of days," it said.

"There's been no uplift in complaints, which is what we expected given that the level of pressure reduction was designed not to have an impact."

But it ruled out lifting restrictions for the weekend, as publicans had urged. "It will be a seven-day restriction because we want to get that overview.

"There hasn't been any impact on service, and we're keeping in close touch with the vintners and restaurants association so they can let us know if the restrictions are having an impact," it added.

Irish Independent

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