As rainfall continues to intensify at a local level this week, the Save Our Shannon Organisation has expressed vast concerns pertaining to the rising water levels and the detrimental impact potential flooding will have on homes and businesses.
A detailed statement issued by Save Our Shannon Organisation this week, noted that as a result of the rising water levels, all farming activities are now curtailed with numerous homes under the threat of flooding.
‘Once again severe flooding has come to the Shannon Callows. Farming activities have been curtailed, water is covering farmland, appearing in farmyards and coming closer to homes. The heavy rainfall continues to fall and locals in the Shannon Callows are likening this continuous rain to the flooding event of 2009 when rain began to fall heavily in October and continued for many weeks into November. At that time the various agencies in control of the flow of water in Shannon were totally unprepared,’ the statement reads.
The statement questions if the relevant agencies are prepared for the potential flooding impact in the Shannon Callows should incessant rain continue to fall.
‘We now ask you the question - how prepared are these agencies today? The agencies we are referring to are the ESB, Waterways Ireland, various County Councils and the OPW. Sluices and gates were not opened in time or in sequence in 2009. Have they been opened yet in 2022?
‘Water was not released through Parteen Villa or Ardnacrusha early enough in 2009 to ease flooding in areas such as Banagher, Shannonbridge and Athlone. When flood water was eventually released, severe flooding occurred in areas such as Cloonlara, O’Briens Bridge, Castleconnell and Limerick. As of now has the maximum amount of water (without causing flooding ) been released through Ardnacrusha and Parteen Villa yet?’, the statement continues.
The statement further notes that the members of the Save Our Shannon Organisation have been recommending three main courses of action since its formation.
‘We have been recommending a number of important actions to the relevant agencies since the Save Our Shannon Organisation was established. Firstly, a single authority must be created to control the flow of water in the Shannon. Secondly, there must be a reduction in the level of water in the three main lakes on the Shannon in order to provide storage for flood waters and finally, it is essential that the “pinchpoints” in the Shannon Callows area restricting the natural flow of water in times of flooding are removed.
‘Not one of these recommendations has been implemented in 13 years. Severe flooding occurred in November 2009, December 2015, January 2016 and again in February 2020. Once again, in 2022, the same pattern of events is occurring. We are facing severe flooding, with residents/farmers extremely worried about their livelihoods, their homes, land and stock, their outbuildings and their ability to travel to work and school.
‘In January 2020, we were promised that €7 million would be spent in removing “pinchpoints” between Athlone and Meelick. Not one ounce of silt has been removed in the intervening years to mitigate flooding.
‘In recent years, work has been conducted in urban areas to prevent houses being flooded (Athlone and Banagher ). While we welcome this development in urban areas, there has been absolutely no works relief for the residents and farmers in the rural areas from Athlone to Meelick who continuously face the horrors of flooding,’ the statement adds.
Concluding, the Save Our Shannon Organisation, implored the relevant agencies to respond to their queries with urgency.
‘In view of the impending flooding situation these main questions are now critical. What has the OPW, the ESB, Waterways Ireland, OPW and the various County Councils along the river done to prepare for and alleviate these floods? We would appreciate an immediate response from such agencies,’ the statement ends.