A number of options aimed at reducing the risk of summer flooding in the Shannon Callows region have been put forward by the Draft Flood Risk Management Plan for the River Shannon, published by the OPW on Friday.
One of the measures examined in the report involves a change to the operation of the sluice gates at Athlone weir, which would help to ensure “optimum storage arrangements” for Lough Ree in advance of a forecasted summer flood event.
This option would require the introduction of a long-range flood forecasting system for the River Shannon, as part of the national flood forecasting and warning service.
Other measures considered in the report include channel dredging and river bank maintenance; however this scenario is not considered viable as it involves significant capital works and maintenance which would cost in excess of €100 million.
Another scenario being examined is the widening of the River Shannon channel by 50 metres on each bank between Banagher and Meelick and by 25 metres on each bank on the New Cut - an option found to be technically and economically viable.
Finally, the report also investigates the possibility of bypassing Meelick Weir downstream of Banagher.
However, the OPW concludes that further studies would be required, particularly upstream and downstream of Banagher, to determine which natural restrictions are most influencing summer flood levels.