LIMERICK city and county may have turned a corner in the battle against the current bout of flooding, after it was announced that ESB had reduced its water discharge rate from Parteen Weir on Wednesday evening.
The decision was made after water levels along the lower River Shannon saw a decrease of around an inch throughout Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning.
And while Council staff remain on site in flood-hit areas, including Castleconnell, Montpelier Lisnagry and some areas of the city, senior engineer Vincent Murray confirmed that the latest development was “positive news for the people who are vulnerable to the flooding and worrying about it at the moment”.
Mr Murray said that before the reduced discharge — now released at 405m3 per second — the Council was able to manage the release in the Castleconnell and Montpelier area.
“What the notification today [Wednesday] means is that it is good news for us, that it is within our capabilities to cope with that level of water discharge.
“If the ESB can maintain their discharge rate at that, and we don’t have to increase it significantly and the level of water in Lough Derg stabilises or starts to reduce, then hopefully we might turn a corner and be over the worst of it,” he explained.
It was also good news for those affected in Clare, as there was a bigger drop — a total of six inches — in water levels in the lower River Shannon by Springfield, Clonlara.
A spokesperson for Clare County Council said that staff remain on site to assist local property owners who have been affected by the flooding.
“The Council remains on alert and will continue to monitor flood levels and weather generally to ensure that the necessary responses can be immediately activated.”
According to a spokesperson for Limerick City and County Council and Clare County Council, it cost €500,000 for flood responses in Limerick since the first flood alert on December 4, and €900,000 for flood-easing measures in Clare.
A spokesperson for the University of Limerick confirmed that, while flood relief measures were put in place, there was “very little inconvenience” and no flood damage at all on campus.
“All preventative flood defence work carried out since the last floods of 2009 have worked and kept the flood waters back. There was one short detour road created to bypass a flooded roundabout, but other than that, there has been no impact on the UL campus,” the Leader was informed.
As a result of the flooding in east Limerick, a number of roads were temporarily closed. This included the R525 road from Castleconnell to O’Briensbridge Road due to flooding at a railway bridge, north of Castleconnell.
According to Shannon Foynes Port Company tide forecasts, tide levels are expected to drop by less than a metre over the next week. The tide levels on Saturday night reached 6.5m, one metre lower when severe flooding hit Limerick in February 2014.
However, according to the figures, which are available online, the tide levels expected to rise to 6.9m on Christmas morning and 7m on St Stephen’s Day.
- For full coverage and analysis of the floods, see the print editions of the Limerick Leader, in shops today