Who controls the river Shannon and what are they planning?
A number of initiatives and projects by a range of agencies are lined-up for 2018
The Shannon near Athlone: the OPW and local authorities have completed 12 flood relief schemes protecting towns in the wider Shannon catchment, including Athlone. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
There are some 20 State agencies from the ESB to Waterways Ireland charged with protecting aspects of the Shannon river.
In addition, a number of other non-governmental agencies protect their interests on the Shannon including the Irish Farmers’ Association and the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland.
The Shannon Flood Risk State Agency Co-ordination Working Group is progressing a number of maintenance initiatives during 2018. These include:
* The OPW’s 10-year investment programme, which will include flood relief schemes at Limerick City (King’s Island) and Athlone. The OPW (Office of Public Works) plans 34 flood relief schemes for the Shannon catchment which include works at Ballinasloe, Portumna, Carrick-on-Shannon, Dromod and Leitrim village; Limerick city and environs and Boyle, Co Roscommon, on the Boyle river, which is a Shannon tributary.
The 2018 work programme includes:
* Bord na Móna engaging in a programme of restoring its embankments where necessary, to prevent silt building up in the river.
* Irish Water progressing the Athlone waste water drainage system to reduce the risk of contamination in the urban catchment.
* Inland Fisheries Ireland removing the weir at Ahascragh, Co Galway, on the river Suck and replacing it with a rock ramp to benefit flood levels upstream of the barrier.
* Waterways Ireland progressing ongoing maintenance of sluices and lock gates on instructions from the ESB. Waterways Ireland will maintain the navigation channel.
* County councils repairing bridges and culverts and maintaining embankments. This facilitates natural drainage and reduces the risk of localised flooding.
* The Environmental Protection Agency has a study under way into the operation of Turloughs in Galway, Roscommon and Longford. Annual inspections of drainage channels should benefit flood levels upstream.
Other aims being progressed longer term are:
* Developing a long-term strategic maintenance programme to halt the deterioration of the Shannon.
* Identifying short-term targeted maintenance activities for individual locations.
* Trialling the lowering of the levels on Lough Allen.
* Assessing further possible measures to address flood risk on the Shannon callows.
In addition, the OPW and local authorities have completed 12 flood relief schemes protecting towns in the wider Shannon catchment, Longford–Westmeath TD Robert Troy was told in response to a parliamentary question.
The completed schemes include Dromcolliher, Foynes, Newcastle West, Cappamore, and the city in Co Limerick; Ballinasloe in Co Galway; Tullamore in Co Offaly; Newport in Co Tipperary; Athlone and Mullingar in Co Westmeath; Ennis and Sixmilebridge in Co Clare.