Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Lack of floods 'threatening health of Liffey'

The lack of floods release from Golden Falls at Ballymore is threatening the health of the River Liffey downstream according to local anglers, writes Brian Byrne.

The reservoir at Golden Falls was drained five months ago by the ESB in order to carry out repairs on the dam. The job took six weeks, during which it was obviously not possible to release floods in the normal way.

However, those repairs are complete and the reservoir has been refilled. But angling interests say no floods have been released even since the refill. “The last flood was in late March or early April,” says local angler Kevin Brady. “The river is on its knees for water and needs three or four floods to freshen it up.”

He says the trout in the river need clean spawning beds, and if there isn’t flood release soon, it ‘will hurt the trout for three to four years to come’.

The photographs above show how much of the lake was drained for the repair works, with the top picture showing the natural run of the Liffey before any dam was put in place. Taken last May, the pictures also show the dam itself, with the normal water level line clearly visible.

During normal floods, which can be discharged at set times daily when the reservoirs at Poulaphuca and Golden Falls are full, some 38 m3/sec of water is released for periods of up to a couple of hours.

On the Irish Canoe Union’s website, which monitors the release of floods on behalf of its members, the last ‘floods’ shown were on 7 July, with a mere 2 m3/sec flow.

The Diary has sent in a request to the ESB for comment and some clarification as to when there will be a resumption of flood releases. Ironically, there was 24/7 flood for a couple of months during last winter because of heavy rain, damaging the Bridge Community Nature Trail and necessitating the closure of access to the river bank in Kilcullen.

There are silver linings to every cloud, however, and the Golden Falls Water-Ski Club used the opportunity of the drained reservoir to lay new anchors, change the orientation of the Slalom Course, make Jump Course adjustments and carry out some dismantling of an older stainless steel jetty.