Tag Archives: flood

Meelick Weir

It says here

Minister Naughten also announced that Meelick Weir just north of Lough Derg will be removed.

I can’t find anything about this on Mr Naughten’s department’s website and Boxer Moran’s speech doesn’t mention it.

Were it true, getting a boat upstream (or indeed down) past Shannon Grove would become even more exciting. Perhaps it’s time to restore Hamilton’s Lock.

Of course if the weir is removed there will be no point in restoring the walkway.

Why rural Ireland is doomed?

Lewis Davis says:

Empirically, I find a robust negative correlation between rainfall variation, a measure of exogenous agricultural risk, and a measure of individual responsibility. Using rainfall variation as an instrument, I find that individual responsibility has a large positive effect on economic development.

Abstract on Tyler Cowen‘s site. You can rent the whole article for $6.

 

Athlone 1889

To the Editor of the Athlone Times 24/8/1889

Dear Sir

I understand that the Athlone Board of Guardians passed a resolution at a recent meeting in favour of the drainage of the Shannon. May I ask, is it the object of these enlightened gentlemen to destroy the navigation of 240 miles passing through our country, which no law can ever restore; or can it be possible they so far despair of the future traffic of the country under the management of their Parliament, in College Green, as to feel warranted in doing away with such a natural and beautiful highway for trade.

I happen, myself, to be in a position to judge the agricultural part of the question, and after the experience of 25 years of the lands which are subject to the Shannon flooding, I have no hesitation in saying that the meadows are greatly improved, and I may mention that in no way could these lands be more profitably farmed than by meadowing.

To the Athlone people, it seems to me a matter of the greatest importance, or do they realise that their beautiful river is about to be turned into a mere cesspool, their traffic to be left at the mercy of the railway companies, and their boating excursions on their fine lake to be made almost impossible, as this drainage will create such a current at the opening of the lake that it will require their strongest efforts to force a boat against it, and even after overcoming this difficulty, they would have little to look at but white shores and barren rocks.

I remain, Mr Editor, Faithfully yours… R D Levinge, Carnagh

Thanks to Vincent P Delany for this.

FPP (lapsed)

I mentioned flooded fields, zoned for housing, here. Michael Geraghty has very kindly sent on this photo, taken recently in Athlone.

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FPP (lapsed)

How nice to have a waterfront apartment. Though it may be a bit much to have it waterback, waterside, watertop and waterbottom as well.

If there is an award for sales skills amongst auctioneers, I wish to nominate Messrs DNG.

For certain values …

In the Irish Times of 5 January 2016 Fintan O’Toole has an article headed “Genuine local democracy part of the solution to flooding“. He points out that

  • in 2004 the Irish Times property supplement showed a photograph [we are not told whether it was part of an ad or advertorial or of a critique of property development] showing a sign advertising for sale a flooded field that had been zoned for residential use
  • in 1997 a resident of Clonmel detailed how the town’s natural flood defences had been destroyed
  • in 1999 a man in Ennis blamed the flooding of his house on the granting of too many planning permissions
  • in 2000 3500 Clonmel residents objected to building on flood plains
  • nitwitted local councillors didn’t care.

He concludes that

As flooding gets worse, we will have to spend enormous amounts of money on engineering solutions. But in fact one part of the solution doesn’t cost any money at all. It’s called listening. Or, to give it its political title, it’s called genuine local democracy. Top-down, very expensive technocratic measures may have to be part of the response. But they will only work in a political culture that has eyes to look at the land and ears to listen to what people know about it.

Well, up to a point, Lord Copper. The article provides no evidence that a majority of the citizens — in any local authority area, Dáil constituency or other political unit — shares the erudite and enlightened views of those who write letters to, or columns in, the Irish Times. In fact, given that the citizens have, over more than one hundred years, continued to elect large numbers of nitwits to the local authorities and, for almost a century, to the Dáil, it seems unlikely that democracy — genuine, local or otherwise — will ever produce the right answers.

Which may explain why so much power now resides elsewhere, in the hands of experts and courtiers, and why elected representatives are reduced to throwing the occasional tantrum, providing tea and sympathy and making empty promises that then come back to haunt them.

 

The Ballina pontoon

That’s Ballina, Co Tipperary, on the Shannon, opposite Killaloe.

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Looking upstream

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The ramp

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Looking downstream

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From the railway footbridge

Photos taken on 1 January 2016.

The pontoon seems to be more severely affected than it was in the last big floods, on 22 November 2009.

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From across the river

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From the bridge

 

Managing the Shannon

Sometimes you have to wonder about politicians and their grasp of reality. Take, for instance, young Mr Adams, Sinn Féin TD for Louth. There he was in the Dáil the other day, talking about flooding on the Shannon, and saying (amongst other things):

No single agency is responsible for the management of the River Shannon. Will the Taoiseach give full responsibility to the OPW for management of the Shannon?

Can Mr Adams have forgotten that, under the Good Friday Agreement, a cross-border implementation body called Waterways Ireland, reporting jointly to the Minister for Fairytales in the republic and the Minister for Marching Bands [a Sinn Féin MLA] in Northern Ireland, is responsible for navigation on certain named waterways including the Shannon?

Giving the Office of Public Works full responsibility for the management of the Shannon would require renegotiation of the Good Friday Agreement [and perhaps some later agreements]. I gather that the members of HM Devolved Administration in Northern Ireland delight in doing that sort of thing, but reducing the powers of the largest of the cross-border implementation bodies might not be wise.

 

 

Limerick water levels 14 December 2015

The Abbey River

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Abbey Bridge

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Baal’s Bridge

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Mathew Bridge

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Current heading for Mathew Bridge

The Shannon in Limerick

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The weir

Plassey

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Lots of pumps running and equipment trundling about the place

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Trouble at t’mill

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T’millstream

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Cots on the bank

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The Black Bridge getting another hammering

Annacotty

I have been told that the Mulkear River rose very rapidly on Saturday night and that, at one time, it was feared that the (older) bridge would be swept away. I gather that folk working in other areas were called to Annacotty to deal with the emergency.

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The old bridge at Annacotty (downstream face)

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A tree in the water above the bridge

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There’s a weir in there somewhere

The Mill Bar in Annacotty was closed today after being flooded.

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The Mill Bar

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This, from a small garden beside the bridge, suggests that the Mulkear may have carried and deposited a lot of silt

The Park Canal

I gather that the Mulkear’s waters, added to those of the Shannon itself, raised the level of the Park Canal (the bottom section of the Limerick Navigation). A problem with opening the lock gates, to release the water, meant that a few houses in Corbally were flooded. A Sinn Féin councillor, whose party colleague has been responsible [with her southern counterpart] for slashing Waterways Ireland’s budget in recent years, is quoted as saying

I am in no doubt it was primarily caused by the ineptitude of Waterways Ireland.

Alas, the news story does not tell us the source of the councillor’s certainty.

The article also says that

[…] the force of this water meant it was not possible to open the lock gates by hand.

That is, I think, misleading: neither set of gates has gate beams, so they are not opened by hand.

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The upper gates in 2004, shortly after installation. Note the absence of gate beams. Note also the two sluices or paddles on each gate

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Control pedestal and gear

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The upper gates open today

I see no sign of the paddles or sluices. Perhaps the level is so high that they’re underwater. I must try to check next time I’m at the canal harbour.

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The upper gates in the floods of 2009

In the floods of 2009 the upper gates were held slightly open and all four sluices were discharging water. That would have lowered the level in the canal; it would also, I think, have made it easier to open the gates fully.

I am guessing, but I imagine that on Saturday night some sort of hydraulic machine was brought in this way …

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Two bollards have been moved from the gateway and stacked beside it

… and used to push or pull open the near-side upper gate. There seems to be some slight damage to the stone and iron work.

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Slight damage

One other possibility that struck me is that silt from the Mulkear might have built up behind the gates, making them difficult to open, but I have no evidence on the matter.

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The lower gates

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From the outside looking in

 

ESB water discharge info

Here is the ESB’s Notifications page, with info on the rate of discharge from its hydroelectric dams and weirs. Today (14 December 2015) Parteen Villa Weir is discharging 440 cumecs (cubic metres per second or, roughly, ton[ne]s per second down the original course of the Shannon. That’s 44 times the 10 cumec usually discharged and more than replaces the 400 cumec diverted through the headrace to the Ardnacrusha power station. The Shannon is therefore running at its pre-Ardnacrusha levels and the Falls of Doonass have regained their power.

Of course if Ardnacrusha didn’t exist, its 400 cumec would be coming down the original course of the Shannon on top of the 440 cumec already there, which would make for interesting levels of flooding.

That ESB page has a link to this infographic, which shows the sort of information I was trying to get across here. I usually start from Leitrim [village]; the ESB starts slightly further upstream at Lough Allen. Note that the Shannon’s few locks are concentrated upstream of Lough Ree: between them and Killaloe are only two locks, at Athlone and Meelick, so the river’s fall is very slight.

 

What’s a cumec, Daddy?

I don’t know, but here’s a picture of 415 of them flowing through Castleconnell. [Update 13 December: that may be only 405 cumec.]

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415 cumecs on 12 December 2015

Actually, a cumec is one cubic metre of water per second, which is roughly one ton per second, which is a lot of water. And 415 cumec is the amount that, according to the blatts, the ESB is currently letting down the original course of the Shannon from Parteen Villa Weir; the minimum flow in that channel, as seen in summer, is 10 cumec.

Castleconnell 12 December 2015

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Younger trees getting their feet wet

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Who’d have guessed?

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Below the bridge

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Above the bridge

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Stormont

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Pump

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Sandbags

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Sandbag Central

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Sandbags filled here for distribution

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Army engineers

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More equipment arriving

Clonlara 11 December 2015

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Ardnacrusha headrace, said to take 400 cumec

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Errina bridge on the Plassey-Errina Canal

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The stop planks seem to be quite effective …

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… as there is little water getting down the canal to Clonlara bridge

Park Canal 9 December 2015

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Depth gauge at Park Lock

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Lock chamber

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Full canal upstream