Will our wet August increase flood risk in South Galway?

It was hard to imagine the past month was actually part of our summer. We had fine weather for most of June and July and August 2019 came blanketed in rain.  According to Met Eireann, Athenry station, the average August brings about 107mm of rain. August 2019 brought 286mm.  In fact this is over 2 1/2 times the amount of rain we normally get!

You can see this in the graph from Met Eireann below.

august_rainfall

What about the overall summer though?

summer2019_rainfall

Things average out a bit better because we had a drier July than normal however, even averaged over the 3 months it’s still over 1.5 times the rainfall we normally get.  If we look at the how the rainfall has been accumulating over the entire year, then we get this.

We had a drier new year but then a wet March caught up with us and May was a very dry month, bringing us below average.  Before August rainfall was just below average for the entire year but the 286mm catapulted us well above average for the year. In fact if we didn’t get any rain at all September, then wed be back on track – but listening to the rain outside – this is unlikely to be the case.

2019_rainfall.JPG

Flood Risk

While it good to have the stats, the slightly worrying thing here is that August has brought the South Galway Turloughs up quite high and as many of the local  communities know – we want these as low as possible coming into the winter.

Normally, it’s from end of October that the ‘chatter’ starts up around flooding. People are more aware of it and the tensions start to notch up when we get heavy persistent rain. That chatter has already started and as we just start the Autumn, possible winter flooding is on peoples mind.

The August Rainfall will take several months to get through the system and in fact the lower Turloughs of Caherglassaun will probably only peak in the next week or 2.  Here’s hoping that September and October will turn thing around again and bring back a sense of normality.

Plan

The current plan is that the South Galway Flooding Analysis, Initial design and feasibility study is completed by the end of this year.  This is something that the South Galway Flood Relief Committee (SGFRC) brought to attention with our elected representatives (See Minister Moran will leave no stone un-turned when it comes to delivering a Solution for South Galway)

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We highlighted that there were 2 key risks to the project at this stage that we needed to get through to get to Feasibility Study

  1. Poor Cost-Benefit Analysis could halt the project
  2. Risk that Environmental factors would block our flood-relief project

We sought and got commitment from Minister Moran and our other elected representatives (Minister Ciaran Cannon, Minister Sean Canney and Deputy Anne Rabbitte as well as our newly elected County Councillors), on getting to a long-term solution for South Galway Flooding.   They are all firm in their commitments so we need to wait a few more months until we get the feasibility study to allow us to progress to full design and public consultation.

Thank you for reading this and please remember that by sharing and liking this, you help keep this issue to the fore where it needs to be to get the attention that the South Galway Communities need for a long term solution

-David Murray