Thursday, June 13, 2024

Westmeath facing serious water crisis

IRISH people instinctively don’t like rain, and Tuesday’s rain this week saw people already complaining. However, those who know the difference would welcome a week of steady rain at present, as lack of any worthwhile levels of rain over the past six months has left Lough Owel, the main natural water reservoir for most of Westmeath, at dangerously low levels.
There’s a serious water problem at present in fact, with the water levels in Lough Ennell, Lough Derravaragh and other Westmeath lakes also very low, as are water levels in the Rivers Inny and Brosna, the smaller streams and the Royal Canal.
It is estimated that water levels in Lough Owel may be down by up to 4 ft below normal, which is extremely low for the winter period. Before Christmas, the water levels were already low, and concerns were being expressed back then, but the lack of any worthwhile levels of rain since have made matters worse.
Local anglers have been concerned for some time, and this week, some anglers told Topic they could not negotiate along the Inny River from Lough Derravaragh to Lough Iron, due to the low water, and people have told us of crossing the Brosna in wellington boots last week, something never possible during the early spring months.
A week or more of heavy rain would be needed, anglers and others concerned have told Topic, if water levels are to be improved significantly.

Anglers have pointed out that if the Fish Farm at Cullion had been closed, Lough Owel would be without fish, because trout are unable to negotiate the streams, so low have been the water levels.
“It would be a disaster if the Cullion farm had been closed,” we were told.

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