The Athlone branch of the River Shannon Protection Alliance (RSPA ) has raised concerns about new proposals by Irish Water to divert water from the River Shannon to the Dublin area to cater for anticipated shortages.
The RSPA formed in 2007 when there were proposals by Dublin City Council to abstract 350 million litres of water daily from Lough Ree. Later proposals focused on Lough Derg; however Damien Delaney of the Athlone branch of the RSPA says the group are extremely concerned at the new proposals for the River Shannon.
According to a recent Irish Water report, there is a “pressing need” for a new water supply source for the Dublin region.
“The focus has moved to Lough Derg, but there are still side effects here. There is always loads of water in Lough Derg as the ESB need to keep levels there constant - but the rest of the Shannon has to make up for this. To supplement Lough Derg, water will have to come from Lough Ree and Lough Allen,” said Mr Delaney.
“This could destroy a whole tourist industry in the Midlands - there will be implications for boating, fishing, hotels, restaurants. If these proposals go ahead there will have to be a proper water level management plan in place.”
Mr Delaney said the Athlone branch is now focusing on raising public support and awareness of their campaign, and encourages interested parties to make a submission during Irish Water’s eight-week consultation process which closes on May 5. The report is available on www.watersupplyproject.ie
In a statement this week, the RSPA said they will strongly oppose any proposal to abstract water from the Shannon, which would have “disastrous consequences economically, environmentally, and socially for all of the communities along the full length of the Shannon”.
“The RSPA will be responding robustly, questioning all of the assumptions and forecasting on which a new Dublin supply and Shannon abstraction are based. We call on all public representatives to consider their constituencies, and also on members of the public, to submit their views on this critical issue.”
Cllr Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran said he would be supporting the group’s endeavours. “There are huge implications for Athlone regarding water levels; we haven’t even got the CFRAM report back yet and now we have these new proposals,” he said.