Flooding solution commitments from elected candidates

During the recent public meeting in Gort (23rd Feb 2016),  a number of questions were put to the Galway-East prospective election candidates.  This is a transcript of the discussions around flooding and we’ve focused on the response to key question from our elected candidates. A video of the overall session will be produced soon.

[Thanks to Dermot Flaherty for providing me a copy of the audio]

candidates

What have you done to date to resolve flooding in South Galway?

Ciaran Cannon : My involvement to date has been two-fold – recent and long-term. Long-term I’ll deal with first. If you go into the records of the dail and put in the words ‘Dunkellin’ and ‘flood relief’ you’ll see discussions and debates going back to the 1950s. No commitment was every made to solve that problem until just about 18 months ago when €6 Million was allocated to the project. It’s happening – that money is ring-fenced. Solving the Dunkellin is key to solving a huge part of the flooding in South Galway. We also have Mattie Hanlon, we saw him down here earlier on, he has worked on a project Kilternan-Ballindereen – there is €430,000 allocated for that. That’s long term. Near-term – I along with Councillor Joe Byrne and many of the members of the local community, the whole way from Kiltartan, out to the sea worked our <you know whats off> over the Christmas to try and save people’s homes and try and solve a problem that’s been plaguing this region for decades. We managed to convince Galway County Council and OPW to dig a release channel at Cahermore (and i want to thank the Glynn’s for facilitating that behind their home.) That solved that problem immediately in that region  and we need… to work upstream from that.

Sean Canney : First of all a a county Councillor I have visited the sites where the major flooding has taken place. I was in Kilternan with Mattie Hanlon, I visited Bridie Willers and her situation there, I was in Kiltartan with PJ Baldwin, I was up here with Michael Fitzmorris TD,  to inspect the damage, the whole scene of it. I’ve prepared a list of place where flooding has taken place  and submitted it to Galway County council, in assistance to them to prepare their list to send to the OPW.  I’m sure you’ll be asking questions because I could go on all night on this. Needless to say we will get to the bottom of it but what I saw was what Bridie Willers had, was a big folder with reports, report, reports more reports and more reports … and nothing done,  her house flooded again and that’s an indictment of what we’ve been at.

Anne Rabbitte :  Thank you for the question. What have I done in South Galway, I’d like to think that in a few months as a County Councillor that I’ve done a lot. In relation to Storm Desmond arriving on the 6th December, I’ve worked tirelessly on the banks of the Shannon and Portumna. On the 28th December, I arrived in Gort and Peterswell. From there I came down to Labane where I worked with the Army – That’s called putting on the wellingtons and getting involved. What else do I want to do? I would love to see the channel dug from Cahermore all the way back to Coole – That I believe is one of them. The solutions are here, they are in the palms of your hands. What ye need to do is to elect a TD in South Galway who stand with the people, who will deliver the projects – That’s what I want to do. I would love to be part of the solution – if you decide to vote with me. Thank you.

What are you going to do to solve the flooding in South Galway?

Cannon : The question was very specific – ‘What am I going to do to solve the flooding issue in South Galway?’ I don’t really care about the flooding in the rest of the county [to be frank] and here is what I’m going to do and to tell you this in a minute is very difficult to do.  Coole to Kinvara, we’ve started the work in Kinvara, in Cahermore there. We want to continue to make that channel permanent. It’s going to need to engagement and support of a number of land owners and we are working to secure that at the moment. We’re working with Galway County Council and OPW to put in an application for funding top make that channel because that is the uncorking of the bottle for a huge amount of work upstream.  You also need to link Coole to Caherglassaun, Caherglassaun to Cahermore and ultimately to the sea. That’s the problem to be solved in that area.  If you go out to Ballyglass and Ballyboy, we had a school cut off from a huge part of the school community, the Dunkellin is a solution there, the Aggard, there was a small channel submitted at one point as part of the overall project and it was withdrawn,  because the OPW over-engineered it.  I could start  and I could talk for the night.. what I’m saying to you is, I know intimately,  the details of every single problem to be solved in South Galway  and I give you my commitment I will not rest until that is done.

“I know intimately,  the details of every single problem to be solved in South Galway  and I give you my commitment I will not rest until that is done”. Ciaran Cannon

Canney : First of all there needs to be one single authority to look after flooding – that’s a priority for me if I get elected to the dail. The second thing is [the other thing I would look for is] to see how we can slow down the water coming from Derrybrien by putting in attenuation tanks on the way down to control the water coming down. Again, we would work with people who have local knowledge of that. We’ve had all the reports, so the only thing and I said it to the minister Simon Harris when I met him in Kiltartan that we need to look at how we do the cost-benefit analysis and we need to factor in a lot more of the human disturbances when you have flooding and a lot of projects don’t get going because they don’t qualify – I think it’s a way of saving money.  One thing I disagree with is that we don’t have to go over to Europe to get any work done. We were told that, Michael Fitzmorris went over to Europe to get the answer and he was told that – we don’t have to go over to Europe – It’s in our own hands to do it. Marion Harkin told us the same thing.

We don’t have to go over to Europe to get any work done”- Sean Canney

Anne Rabbitte ; Thank you. I actually believe myself personally that its a common sense approach that’s required at this stage.  How long would it take to get all the people together, all the different agencies, to form one agency… I think what we need to do is to put all the agencies sitting down together at the one table. We have the solutions and we know what they are. There is a three-prong approach required in South Galway. The first is to sort out the Dunkellin and hopefully on the 29th February  that planning will come through. The second one is to look at the dig from Cahermore back to Coole and the third one is to deal with the swallow holes. That’s what is required in South Galway.  It’s more action and less talking. In actual fact they have the capacity to do this – you saw the will, the political will that was there for the 3 days when we were allowed to do it under the emergency works – we just need that to continue. Also we’re 6 inches from the flood height – the emergency is still there and the dig could continue as the levels regress and if that was to happen it would prevent our next emergency which we’re about 10 months from.

“What ye need to do is to elect a TD in South Galway who stand with the people, who will deliver the projects – That’s what I want to do. I would love to be part of the solution – if you decide to vote with me”. Anne Rabbitte

Open Forum:

Joe Byrne : I’m Councillor Joe Byrne, I’m from Kinvara. I’m a councilor for a year and a half. If I could just make a couple of observations on the flooding issue because I think that it is a very important matter and I know that [..] has said that for the 35 years as a Councillor he wasn’t able to influence much constructive stuff regarding flooding – well actually I’m a Councillor for a year and a half and I believe fundamentally that I’ve influenced very positively in South Galway a lot of positivety towards solving the problem of flooding in South Galway by dealing with local public representatives  and I think you’ve seen that with Ciaran Cannon over the last 2-3 months. There is a solution, I do fundamentally not believe it’s about setting up a joint agency at this stage because we know the solution, we have the reports done, there is a commitment to continue with it and I for certainly one, as a County Councillor will be working very hard to make sure this work happens. We have the answers, we have the technical solutions, we have the funding commitment from Government and irrespective of who the Government is next week, that commitment has to be maintained because this isfar more important than politics.

Brendan Slevin. I was intimately involved in the Dunkellin flood relief scheme and one of the disappointing things was over 2 days in the Oranmore lodge, there was very little political representation at the oral hearing. Was any of ye at the oral hearing […], not one of ye.  The opening statement from Galway County Council, was there was €6 Million being spent on this scheme. It wasn’t Galway County Councils fault, it wasn’t Tobin Engineers fault. There is one agency in this state handcuffing all the other agencies and that’s the NPWS. And we as the good citizens of Europe have not implemented the habitat’s directive correctly, we’ve put ourselves at the bottom of the list and put everything else above us. The opening statement from Galway County Council, was there was €6 Million being spent on this scheme but there was nothing that could be done about 6 houses that could flood again. There was nothing done with the Aggard despite what’s been said. There was an opportunity to do it. It was missed.  It’s not being done. These is this cost-benefit analysis  [That Sean Canney mentioned] , you were talking about peoples houses being flooded, peoples farms being flooded. That model is based on something in the UK and everything the OPW decided to do or not is based on this Cost Benefit analysis. If we look at Ballyglass school, if we look at Gort, for the last 2 months, all these people [..] there is no Cost-Benefit analysis, when I need to go to Kinvara, I need to go to Ardrahan first, that is not factored in at all. I’m only one business, there is merchants, doctors, all types of businesses. We are suffering [not as much as the people who have flooded] but until the Government tackles, the NPWS who are a statutory  agency dictating to the Government what they should and shouldn’t do and how they should and shouldn’t implement the EIA directives from Europe – we’re going nowhere. Claregalway flooded in 2009, Ballinasloe flooded in 2009. The flood relief schemes are finished. They are done and dusted and they worked. We have nothing done in South Galway. We have a lot of minor flood relief schemes, yes and they are working, some of them have been under designed but the Dunkellin Scheme is a flood-relief scheme, it’s not a drainage scheme. There was an opportunity to drain the water from Ardrahan and Grannagh  down via the Aggard and on through Kilcolgan but Tobin’s, OPW and Galway County Council’s hands were tied – by one agency – the NPWS.

MC: Are the NPWS a mighty power that we have no control over?

Ciaran Cannon : No they are not : They are a statutory agency that, as Brendan has pointed out, are obliged, under legislation passed by this Government,  …well not this Governments, previous Governments, … passed by this state, to protect habitats across this country – that’s their role, that’s their function. But the NPWS are at pains, and I got a call, from the head of the NPWS here in the western region, during Christmas, when we were up to our  ….. knees. … in water down in Cahermore, in particular in relation to the work that happened at Dunguaire and Cahermore to say that they had no issue with it whatsoever. That the legislation that underpins their establishment allows for a derogation, called IROPI [imperative reasons of overriding public interest] , where people’s homes and livelihoods, and land is threatened to a huge extent, you can invoke that and just go ahead and do it and that’s what Galway County Council did.

Brendan, one thing I’ll disagree with you on and I agree with the vast majority of what you’ve said, in 2009 the people in Crowe st, Gort,  were up their necks in water, every one of those businesses were shut down for weeks – That didn’t happen this time because OPW and the County Council did a very good engineering job in solving that problem. You might argue David that it moved it downstream and it probaby did to a certain extent, but it worked for Crowe St and that what needs to happen with the rest.

Brendan Slevin :  I’ll acknowledge that Ciaran.

Ciaran Cannon : What I’m saying to you is that there is a cultural (driven a lot by the Taoiseach, who spent 8 hours here, visiting all of this area a couple of weeks ago)  – there is a diktat being issued to the NPWS – ‘Pull in your horns – this is a major major problem’ and I feel that that call that I received was prompted by that and they are going to have to say when people livelihoods, farms, …

MC: Are you getting a reaction from the  NPWS ?

Ciaran Cannon : They rang me up, the guy’s name is Denis Stone, he rang me and said, we are not going to stop anything you are doing down there. If it needs to be done, go ahead and do it and I do feel, that the extent of the anguish and the strive,  suffered by people not only here but across the county has prompted a major mind change in that organization. – That’s my own personal opinion.

Lorraine Higgins : It shouldn’t take a disaster of unmitigated proportions, like what we have seen over the course of the last few months for the NPWS to pull in their horns in the first place. We have this legislation in Europe foisted upon us, there is not debate in the Oireachtas. I think it’s time that one of the chambers would be used in order to debate this legislation to get input from communities and give them a chance to have their say. [Democracy]. It shouldn’t be a case of the Taoiseach having to direct the NPWS to pull in their horns.

Anne Rabbitte ; We are talking about something that has happened for the very first time in 2015. This has been going on for a long number of years.1995,1996,2009, 2013, so its not like this has happened for the very first time. In actual fact I can’t understand why we don;’t have the will to continue the work we had started over the new year. In actual fact the Finn river in Donegal, the work had started and is still continuing, and they are still continuing to dig,  as the river is receding so I don’t understand why we are not exercising that work itself in Cahermore. In fact that’s where we need to be seen ourselves going. – that the project has just started. it might be stopped but we need to have that same will and that will has to be delivered through the council.I do know that that a the last meeting that was put down and the council are talking about going back in again for planning – we can’t see ourselves in that stage – we have to see ourselves continuing  the dig. That’s wants needed. We shouldn’t be talking about this happening for the very first time .

Sean Canney : I just want to, in conclusion say that we blame the NPWS, we talk about them pulling in their horns, – that’s all wrong.  They can be taken out of it, if there is a will – we seem to be afraid of it – or else we are using it as a shield. We are afraid that if we do anything against the NPWS that they will prosecute a County Council and the directors of services are afraid that they will be prosecuted by another arm of the state. Its pandemonium what’s going on. And there is money on reports and whatever else being done, but when you come back to it and I repeat this – the solutions are within our own power – we don’t have to blame Europe or go out to Europe – we can do what we want ourselves, with our own laws to make sure all these emergencies are sorted out.

The full video of the discussions will be published soon.

Candidate Response #1 : Ciaran Cannon

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Ciaran Cannon

Ciaran Cannon TD is a member of Dail Eireann and a former Councillor, Senator and Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills. Ciaran has a passion for innovation in education and has been at the heart of the reform of Ireland’s further education sector culminating in the publication of Ireland’s first ever Further Education and Training Strategy in 2014. He is also a strong advocate for the use of technology in education and in 2013 he founded EXCITED – The Digital Learning Movement. In 2013, along with tech entrepreneur Sean O’Sullivan, Ciaran launched Mathletes, the world’s first ever online maths competition for schools on the Khan Academy platform. Following the launch of Mathletes, Ireland saw the number of its Khan Academy users grow from 4,000 to 26,000 and the Mathletes concept has now been adopted by the Khan Academy in the US. He has also worked with schools across South Galway in developing superb new facilties for our children. Ciaran is also the founder of The Village Theatre, an experienced musician, an award winning songwriter, and an avid cyclist. 


What has your involvement to date been in the flooding crisis in South Galway?

My involvement has been at both national and local level. At national level I have worked with my colleague Minister Simon Harris to secure €6m in investment for the Dunkellin/Aggard Flood Relief Project which is key to unlocking the flooding problem for a large part of South Galway. This is the first time in the history of the state that such a funding commitment has been made to the Dunkellin. Secondly I worked with Mattie Hanlon and Cllr. Joe Byrne in securing a commitment of €430,000 for the Kiltiernan/Ballinderreen Flood Relief Project. These two investments are the beginning of my ambitions to solve South Galway’s flooding problem once and for all.

At local level throughout the whole of December and January, I stood shoulder to shoulder with local farmers and homeowners when they need support and intervention on their behalf at both local and national level. Cllr. Joe Byrne and I worked hard to make the case for major excavation works at Dunguaire and Cahermore and when those works were carried out they saved many homes from further devastation. At Labane, we installed at flood wall and large pumps to save four homes and across the whole of South Galway we supported families with sandbags, animal fodder deliveries and any other help they needed. In short we were there when people needed us, night and day.

Finally I asked An Taoiseach to visit South Galway and he spent eight hours there meeting home and landowners whose lives had been devastated. I am convinced that this visit will be central to securing even more investment in flood relief for our area.


What do you see as the key issues that affect flooding in South Galway?

The main contributors to the flooding problem are;

  • Excessive and rapid runoff from the Sliabh Aughty Mountains.
  • The current inability to get water from Coole/Kiltartan to the sea and from Kiltiernan/Ballinderreen to the sea.
  • The current lack of capacity in the Dunkellin to take additional water from upstream locations.
  • The large number of swallow holes that are not functioning properly.

If elected, how do you intend to solve flooding in South Galway?

I will continue to prioritise this issue at national level and will push hard for further investment.

Slieve Aughty

We need flood attenuation measures to retain water on the mountains longer so that it doesn’t run off rapidly to low lying areas. OPW need to talk to Coillte about horizontal drainage instead of vertical.

Coole-Kinvara

We need a series of channels to link turloughs in this area to cater for an overflow only. The three channels required are from Coole-Ballinastague, Caherglissaun Lake-Cahermore and finally from Cahermore to sea at Kinvara. The Taoiseach is personally supporting the development of these channels and I’m confident that all of them will be delivered within the next year. In Cahermore I want to thank Tommy Glynn and Adrian and Lisa Glynn for allowing the excavation of a large channel to the rear of their home. Thanks also to Liam Gantley for his work carried out with great expertise and care. Joe Byrne and I are now working to make that channel in the area of Cahermore permanent. We need to go a little deeper to ensure that it functions properly and we also need to consult with all of the landowners between Cahermore and Dunguaire as some minor works may be needed to ensure that water flows freely to the sea when it reaches a certain level at Cahermore. Engaging regularly with all landowners and keeping them informed is critical to the success of this project.

Ballyboy/Ballyglass

Critical to the proper drainage of this area is the success of the Dunkellin/Aggard project. There is a design in place for a deepening of the stream which runs from Ballyglass into the Aggard, but it includes works which are excessive and were ruled out on a cost benefit analysis. Joe Byrne has done some great work on re-assessing the levels along this stream and is now of the opinion it would take less than one week’s work with a digger. We now intend to submit an application for a Minor Flood Relief Project so that the people of this area won’t be flooded again and Ballyglass NS won’t be cut off from the local community.

Kiltiernan/Ballinderreen

Mattie Hanlon’s flood relief project for this area is now funded to the tune of €430,000 and planning permission for the project is due to to be lodged soon. This project will help to solve the flooding around Kiltiernan School and the new M18.. Also helps Arran, Ballyclough and Blake Manor Nursing Home, Tooreen/Pollough.

Rinerush, Grannagh, Peterswell

We need a multi-faceted solution in this area. It should include a major cleaning of the swallow hole where the Cloon River undergrounds. There are also 15 other swallow holes in the area that need to be cleaned and work is already underway to make the case for this project. We also need to explore the diversion of the Owenshree River to Aggard, but that can only happen after the Dunkellin Flood Relief Project is delivered.


 

Finally can I say David that your work has been a powerful aid to both Joe and I in making the case for investment in flood relief for South Galway. You are a new breed of digital community activist and the positive impact you are making is most welcome.

Flooding Solution #1 : Being represented

Solving the physical solution to flooding of South Galway flooding is not just a matter about diverting flows, building access routes or creating channels.  We need champions that will represent us with the next government that can commit to solving this problem and ensure that we are not forgotten about.

In order to address flooding solutions we need committed representatives who can represent South Galway’s communities needs.  The key to the solution to flooding may be more about streamlining our government departments of environment, community & local government;  agriculture and transport and getting alignment between NRA,OPW,County Councils, Coillte, NPWS etc., than creating channels

south galway

Please attend the meeting tonight in Sullivan’s hotel, Gort @8pm and show our election candidates that we serious about flooding and other issues in South Galway.

 

Flooding Solutions #1: Overview

I’ve done some detailed presentations on the flooding situation happen in South Galway and the good news is that for the majority of the areas affected by flooding there are solutions – they are not rocket science.  It’s time to have an overview of the key solutions available.

From a previous video presentation, I summarized the key items to flooding in this  South Galway area.  These are detailed below:

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Critical items influencing flooding in South Galway
Conceptually this can be viewed like this:

  

These are as follows:

  1. Manage the rapid run-off the Slieve Aughty Mountains
  2. Manage the pinch point at Kiltartan
  3. Manage the Level of Coole lake and its path to the sea

I will try and document these in detail in the coming weeks but here is a summary of the main solution approaches.

The rapid run-off the Slieve Aughty Mountains

There is no doubt that there is a serious increase in how fast and how much water is coming off the mountain during heavy rainfall.  In a previous post I’ve described the correlation between heavy rainfall and an immediate increase in river water levels. Within 4 hours, some of the Slieve Aughty rivers can rise over 1 metre. With 36 hours, Blackrock turlough can rise over 10 metres and extend over 2km.  This rapid run-off has an immediate impact on the area around Castledaly, Grannagh,  Peterswell, Skehana, Blackrock, Ballylee, Deerpark, Rinrush, Castletown. There are three viable solutions to this:

Slow the flow

There are well documented cases about slowing the flow coming down from mountain.  In English towns such as Pickering they formed a committee and ran a project called ‘Slow the flow at Pickering’ and used a range of land management measures to help slow the rush of water. A lot of this is to bring back some of the more natural drainage to the mountains.

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A ‘Grip’ cut into the mountain in the Slieve Aughty’s

Diverting the flow

One of the interesting things about the Owenshree river (which can rise 1M in 4 hours),  is that soon after the Seven-Eye Bridge close to Kilchreest where the river swings left (west) it is only a few hundred metres from the source of the Aggard. Here it is in the red circle below:

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This means that there is a potential solution to be able to divert some of the Ownshree into the Aggard. This solution has been details in an OPW report Termon Mannin Kilchreest Final Report 231210.  This solution is feasible, but only on the back of delivering an improved drainage scheme on the Dunkellin river [Subject to approval on 29th-Feb-2016].    Alleviating some of the flow from the Owenshree river would lessen the build up of water on Castledaly, Grannagh and Blackrock and be an overall benefit on the whole South Galway flooding.

Underground Drainage

From talking to locals in the area, I’ve heard rumors that there were some river diversions on the Owenshree river many years ago, something to do with Limepark house. Check out the 1836 OS map here : Move the OVERLAY Slider and you can see the overlay of then (1936) and now  and you will see a river appear and disappear

Was there a swallow hole covered in around here or the OS guys just come across a summer? If we zoom with on aerial photographs around Bullaunagh- we see the old path of the river in 1836 … and now today it does not exist [but you can still make out the old river path]

Does this swallow hole still exist?   This needs more investigation. In general it is essential to ensure that the swallow-holes throughout the system are in good condition and can keep the water flowing.

The pinch point at Kiltartan

As detailed before, Kiltartan is the pinch point in the Slieve Aughty drainage. All flows must go through Kiltartan.  The water needs to be able to flow freely through Kiltartan and into the Coole Basin.

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Kiltartan Flows
The key aspects of the solutions in the Kiltartan Area are :

  1. Keep the level of Coole Lake down – If Coole Lake rises then the swallow-hole at Kiltartan will not be as efficient and will result in an overflow across Corker.
  2. A properly managed Kiltartan-Corker overflow.
    1. Properly sized culverts to manage the Kiltartan- Corker flood overflow across the local road
    2. Properly sized culverts underneath the new M18 motorway
    3. Properly sized culverts to transfer water over to Raheen and Coole
  3. Alternate overflow channel beneath Coole Ridge, again, under the new M18 motorway.

Areas such as Skehana,  Rinrush will also need to have well managed overflow paths.

The Level of Coole lake and its path to the sea

Coole lake level probably has the biggest impact on flooding in the South Galway area.  Its levels have an indirect affect on the levels in Kiltartan and consequently the majority of the underground river system.  Its levels also have a direct impact on the neighboring communities including Raheen, Glenbrack,  Roo, Tierneevin, Garryland, Ballynastaig, Caherguassuan and Cahermore. The key in minimizing the tremendous amount of flood damage that current Coole lake levels cause, is in the the lowering of Coole lake maximum levels.

The following diagram shows the relative heights of Coole lake and other areas during this years flooding:

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Highlights of some of the key levels in South Galway on 4th Jan 2016
As Coole lake fills, Kiltartan levels will raise as the swallow-hole pressure drops and this impacts Ballylee etc also.  Also note, that the blocking point to the sea is not the level of Coole lake but the level of Caherglassaun. This lake needs to raise very high before it overflows into Cahermore, so consequently if you want to control the level of Coole Lake, you need to control the level of Caherglassaun. The follow on from that is that you then need to ensure Cahermore has a path to the sea.

Creating a proper overflow channel from Caherglassaun to the sea via Cahermore will have a major impact on the reduction of flooding in South Galway

The temporary river channel that was dug from Cahermore to Caherawoneen was a very good example of allowing the water to flow and reducing the peak flood levels in Cahermore.  A more permanent solution is currently being looked at to create a proper overflow channel.

No silver bullets

These solutions should complement each other to reduce flooding affects in South Galway.  If Coole lake levels can be kept down this will allow water to flow more freely through the system but if we can ‘Slow the Flow’ and divert some of the rapid-runoff the Slieve Aughty Mountains then this will reduce the overall peak volume of water in the system.  We also have to manage areas where water dynamics will lead to significant overflows in areas like Skehana, Rinrush and Kiltartan.

 

-David Murray

Rain vs. Rivers in South Galway

We have an OPW based website that tracks many river levels (known as metering ‘stations’) and some of these monitor levels in South Galway –  The web address is simply www.waterlevel.ie. I got an email this morning from the OPW after I requested that they create a ‘group’ for the western Slieve Aughty drainage and this can give a picture of what happened a week or so ago during storm Gertrude.  The address is http://waterlevel.ie/group/28/ . So now you we can get a picture of how river water levels behaved over the past month, something like this [Note plenty of disclaimers on the data accuracy on the website].

levels

These relate to the levels of the rivers at these stations:

And this show you where they are:

Water Levels

So what can it tell us? It can give some insight into the water dynamics

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River Levels in with Storm Gertrude : Jan 26th/27th 2016

e.g. the rainfall we got during Storm Gertrude

  • The Owendalulleegh/Derrywee river (into Lough Cutra) rose over 1.2 M in 6 hours : peaking at 2pm. [Killafeen station]
  • The Bolleyneendorish river @Ballycahalan rose over 1 M in 6 hours ,peaking at 11am
  • The Owenshree @Kilcheest rose 0.5Min 6 hours, peaking at 11am
  • The Beagh River (Orange) rose over 0.5 M, but took 26 hours to rise (The wonderful dampening affect of lough Cutra) but was sustained for several days)

The 1-2 hour difference timing peak in river levels is probably to do with the distance from catchment area.

Rainfall

It’s also possible to get rainfall here http://www.met.ie/climate/daily-data.asp

I looked up Athenry stations (one of the nearest to Slieve Aughty) for the 24 hours around the 26th Jan and its profile looked like this:

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Assuming Athenry was a good indicator (It seems like a good approximation as winds were in an easterly direction and Slieve Aughty is ~10KM eastwards)

Some notes:

  • Rainfall was ~22 mm (~1 inch) in 7 hour 1am to 8am with a peak of 6am-7am
  • Rainfall was ~8mm @9m that night

If we correlate this to the river levels then we can roughly say that heavy rainfall in the Slieve Aughty will be in the Kilchreest & Peterswell 3-4 hours later.

Of course – the easiest way to find out this is to ask the locals – they agree that it’s down of a shot but it’s also good to get some numbers behind it.

‘Slow the Flow!’

This rapid run-off the mountain is a dynamic that the downstream swallow holes simply cannot handle. We’ve heard from other sources that there are viable techniques to ‘slowing the flow’

We have to seek these type of solutions – It’s working with nature and it’s not rocket science!

-David Murray