Effects of long dry spell begin to trickle down in Limerick

 Everyone's enjoying the dry weather, 'we're waiting for rain!'

Donal O'Regan


Donal O'Regan

Effects of long dry spell begin to trickle down in Limerick

Why bother using the bridge when you can cross the Shannon on foot – Sharon Slater, of Limerick’s Life website, captured this remarkable photo

THE OLD Testament tells how Moses parted the Red Sea for the Israelites to cross and in 2017 men are walking across the Shannon.

The photograph, above, taken by Sharon Slater isn’t something you see every day. 

“It was very interesting to see them do it. One guy led and the others followed. Using the two sticks and I presume good shoes, they found their footing easily,” said Sharon.

The combination of low tide and sparse rainfall in recent weeks combined to turn the mighty Shannon into a puny little stream in parts.

A spokesperson for Ardnacrusha Power Station said over the last 30 days there were periods when just 11 cubic metres per second (cumecs) of water was arriving at Parteen Weir.

To put this in context, during the flooding in the winter of 2015/2016 870 cumecs was thundering down.

“The below normal rainfall during the past winter and spring has resulted in reduced power production at Ardnacrusha. However, when inflows into Lough Derg are low, ESB cuts back on power production to appropriately manage Lough Derg levels,” the spokesperson said.

“This ensures that, should there be a prolonged drought, there is always sufficient water available in the lake to ensure a fresh water supply of 10 cumecs into the river Shannon at Parteen Weir to cater for fishery, ecological and environmental requirements,” they added.

Since October, only March has exceeded the long term monthly rainfall average at Shannon Airport.

The dry weather is great for most but farmers in some parts of County Limerick have had to bring fodder to cattle on outside lands due to negligible grass growth. When is the last time you cut your lawn?

Firefighters have also felt the heat as they battled gorse fires in east and south Limerick.

Amy O’Regan, Limerick Racecourse sales and marketing executive, said that the whole country is enjoying the fine summer spell and “here we are waiting for the rain!”.

To ensure safe ground for their successful family fun race day on Sunday, May 21, staff were watering the track up to 9pm most evenings prior to it.

A spokesperson for Irish Water said: “Overall the current supply situation in Limerick is sustainable but Irish Water and the local authority are continuing to monitor and manage the situation on a daily basis.”

Temperatures are soaring this Thursday but Friday will see outbreaks of showery rain continuing into Saturday. However, expected rainfall hasn't materialised in recent weeks and many will be looking anxiously at the heavens, just like Moses.