Reader's Blog: Time to audit our water reserves

How much do we know about water beneath our feet? Parts of Ireland had bouts of parching in 2018. Soil, on being dug up, was found to have become dust.

This was visible beneath some inches of wet topsoil even after falls of rain. In some places, water springs continued to irrigate fields but didn’t reach waterways. Rivers showed the effect of drought. Alongside energy use we have to look at water availability. The drought indications mentioned here refer to catchments of tributaries of the Suir and Shannon. There were drought conditions across the mid-West, which corresponds to the Parteen Basin. In late 2018, several weeks of rain only began to bring equilibrium. We have to become more attentive to our environment and ecology. We cannot take these for granted anymore.

Trees are likely to have suffered, deciduous ones probably the most. Ivy seems to have advanced in 2018 in Tipperary. To the west of the county, it’s quite notable. In spite of cutting back, it seems to recover quickly. It’s evergreen and seems to cope and grow in a very wide temperature range, 365/24/7. That wouldn’t augur well for deciduous trees stressed by drought, on which ivy gets established. We might glimpse some indicators when wind-storms come in early 2019.

We need to audit our wells, springs, and networks of water distribution. We will need to survey for deep water. It’s clear we don’t appreciate what’s beneath our feet. The excellence of our engineering and construction abilities and skillsets might need to be turned toward protection and conservancy of water. Cutting through limestone across Munster, road building, may not add to water availability. Cork won’t rise without water to drink.

Tom RyanDoonCo Limerick

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