The National Co-ordination Group, which met again yesterday, warned that areas from Athlone, Co Westmeath, down to Limerick may face flooding as peak water levels will not be evident until the weekend.
Speaking in the Dáil yesterday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny warned there could be flooding before the end of the week. Some water treatment stations have been closed or impacted by floods while the ESB has been forced to release more water from its dams and weirs which may cause floods in the coming days.
Sean Hogan, chairman of the National Co-ordination Group, said: “The biggest catchment area is the Shannon catchment and it’s a slow catchment; it’s filling and will continue to rise and may not peak until later in the week. So obviously people in that area, who are in vulnerable areas along the Shannon, are still at risk of flooding, that’s the message,” he said.
The unsettled weather is expected to continue in thecoming days. MET Éireann forecaster Evelyn Cusack said: “The outlook for the week ahead is for continued unsettled weather, moving in from the Atlantic.”
Jim Casey of the OPW said urban areas in and around Limerick city and up to Lough Derg and Athlone were all at risk.
“Also of concern is the fact that we are expecting to come back on spring tides this weekend, while it’s not an especially high spring tide, it is going to be about half a meter higher than the astronomical tide this weekend. Coinciding with that is the fluvial flood wave coming down the Shannon so there is a little bit of concern there.
“It will get worse over the coming days and peaking at the weekend,” he said.
The ESB has discharged excess water at Parteen Weir over the past week and said it would probably have to increase the flow again over the coming days.
“One of the issues associated with that level of flow at Parteen Weir is that there are some areas downstream between Parteen and Limerick city that are vulnerable to flooding and they would include Springfield, Clonlara, Montpelier, Castleconnell and Mountshannon,” the ESB’s Tom Browne said.
“The water levels will continue to rise in Athlone over the coming days,” he said.
Irish Water has been dealing with over 50 incidents and three water treatment centres had been “inundated with flood water”.
Two boil-water notices have been posted — one in Ballinasloe, Co Galway, serving 10,000 people and also two major group water schemes. In Co Donegal, Bundoran treatment plant is closed but residents are receiving water from an alternative source.