With a noticeable rise in water levels on the Shannon following heavy rainfall in the past fortnight, there has been a corresponding increase in concern in Athlone and surrounding areas that flooding may once again become an issue.
Data from the OPW shows that water levels on the Shannon at Athlone took a sharp turn upwards around February 26 and continue to rise, with the latest data from yesterday (Wednesday ) afternoon showing almost 4.7m above zero level. This compares with a level of 3m at the beginning of February, and an even lower 2.7m on February 21.
However, Independent Deputy Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran has moved to allay such fears with the news that the discharge of water has been increased at Parteen Weir, further down the Shannon on the Clare-Tipperary border.
Deputy Moran confirmed yesterday that the ESB has increased water flow through Parteen Weir, in order to lower the levels of the River Shannon at Lough Ree and downstream of Athlone.
“The move is a result of ongoing actions undertaken in recent days by the Minister for the OPW and flood relief and the ESB following my representations to both over the past few days concerning water levels,” said Deputy Moran.
“Over the last fortnight we have witnessed increased rainfalls, particularly since last Friday and over the weekend. I can understand the levels of concern from the public and those who have been previously affected by the last major flooding.
“I want to reassure people that both the Minister and I are continuing to monitor the levels of the River Shannon on a daily basis and are prepared to intervene where necessary to ensure that water levels do not become a cause of major concern.”
The ESB has advised that the flow of water through Parteen Weir has been increased to 50 cubic metres per second.
Water levels on the Shannon are being constantly monitored throughout the day and the ESB is in regular contact with relevant agencies and other bodies with up-to-date information on water levels.
In recent days Deputy Moran has visited a number of areas which have traditionally been susceptible to flooding, including Portlick, Golden Island, Clonown, Meelick Weir, and Banagher.
“When people start seeing the water rising, there is understandably a fear that things will get worse,” said Deputy Moran.
“However, with little rainfall forecast over the next few days, and the measures undertaken by the Minister and the OPW, an improvement should be seen over the coming days.”