IFA Connacht Chairman Pat Murphy said that synchronised management of the gates in the mid River Shannon region is key to managing the water levels.
Farmers want the OPW to manage the water levels on the Shannon by dropping the water levels, while ensuring that it doesn’t cause problems further downstream.
A delegation from IFA recently visited some of the Shannon Callows.
Pat Murphy said a significant amount of hay and silage has been harvested and the aftergrass is now growing. This aftergrass is vital to the farmers in the Callows. If properly utilised by grazing, it will significantly reduce the demand on fodder in the area for the coming winter.
“The weather in August can be very volatile and can bring significant localised flooding similar to what was witnessed in the northwest last week. The opportunity to graze this aftergrass must not be lost due to unnecessary flooding which could be prevented by proper management on the Shannon,” he said.
Offaly IFA Chairman Pat Walsh said, “A number of key pinch points identified along the river need to be addressed. The banks of the river haven’t been correctly maintained for many years. Silt has been building up on the bed of the river causing silt islands to form. Silt islands, the vegetation that grows there and poorly maintained river banks, impede the flow of the river which contributes greatly to flooding during periods of high rainfall in the river catchment”.
“The River Shannon must be maintained. Fallen trees, overgrown vegetation and silt islands must be removed. These actions would help alleviate the flooding problem by allowing the water levels to reduce without unnecessary restriction. It’s affecting farmers, who suffer major losses, and it also causes disruption for businesses in the flooded areas,” he said.
Pat Murphy said, “the Minister has to take immediate control of the situation and ensure the water levels are managed appropriately to reduce the risk of flooding. In the longer term, an agency must be established which would include local farmers to manage the overall Shannon project to rectify the problems and maintain it into the future. This must be established without delay and cannot be put on the long finger.”