Dearth of water halts Liffey Descent

Thu, Aug 11, 2011, 01:00

The annual 17-mile Liffey Descent race, which attracts more than 1,000 canoeists and kayakers to Ireland every September, has been postponed – due to a lack of water.

Paddlers from all over the world converge on Straffan, Co Kildare, each year to enjoy the thrills and spills of the event, which has been running since 1960.

Announcing the postponement, the Irish Canoe Union, which governs the sport here, said the race would not now take place on Saturday, September 10th as planned. It will instead take place on October 8th – perhaps providing welcome extra training time for the serious paddlers who were gearing up for the daunting task of running the swollen river from Kildare to Islandbridge in Dublin.

On the website, the organisers noted that reservoir levels were at a 35-year low.

The main attraction of the Liffey Descent over the years has been that it is a ‘big water’ event,” a statement said.

It noted the flood for the massive event is provided by the ESB through the release of water from its upstream reservoirs.

“The ESB has however recently advised the Irish Canoe Union that reservoir levels are currently at a 35-year low and that having regard to long range weather forecasts and its own water demand forecasts it will not be in a position to release water to facilitate this year’s event in September.

“It has indicated that it will be in a better placed in October to facilitate a release sufficient for the ICU to run a satisfactory event.”

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