“The ESB is operating a water level on Lough Ree which is 1foot higher than the weir wall in Athlone” stated Denis Naughten TD, following a meeting with the ESB, Waterways Ireland and the OPW in the Dáil this week.
“Even more frustrating at the meeting was the admission by Waterways Ireland that its staff operating Meelick Weir went home at 8 pm on the Thursday night as the Callows were beginning to flood and did not return for a further 12 hours until Friday morning when the river had risen significantly” continued Denis Naughten.
“It is clear from the discussions with the agencies involved that there is an urgent need for a single body to take over the management of water flow & levels on the River Shannon & its tributaries. While, due to the scale of rainfall over the last month, it was likely that the Callows would flood no matter what actions were taken on the river itself, it was also evident that the communities living in the Shannon basin are far from a priority when it comes to river management.”
On foot of his meeting with the ESB, Waterways Ireland and the OPW, Denis Naughten stated: “I will be requesting that the Dáil Environment Committee seek an urgent economic and environmental assessment of the management of water levels Lough Ree, and that it direct the ESB & Waterways Ireland to ensure that its staff maintain a 24/7 rota to ensure that the gates on the river are opened and closed in a timely and appropriate manner in the event of any future severe flood warning.”
“There are many other practical steps which must be taken and I am putting a proposal together along with other members of the Dáil from the Shannon catchment for consideration by the Environment Committee in the coming days” concluded Denis Naughten.
Issue dated: 13 JULY 2012
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