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Electricity production at Inniscarra Dam has ceased. Picture: David Keane.
Electricity production at Inniscarra Dam has ceased. Picture: David Keane.
SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

Water is the hottest commodity of this sizzling Cork summer

WATER has become a hotly prized commodity for everyone from the ESB to water buffalo as Met Éireann says the current hot and dry weather is set to continue well into next week.

Electricity production at the Inniscarra Dam has ceased as priority is given to ensuring the flow of water to the Lee during the ongoing drought in Cork. Cork city has escaped the water shortages that are causing serious problems in other parts of the county and country so far but the situation is being monitored continuously.

 Not India but west Cork! Water Buffalo cooling down in a stream on the farm of Leo O’Shea on the Beara Peninsula.

Not India but west Cork! Water Buffalo cooling down in a stream on the farm of Leo O’Shea on the Beara Peninsula.

A spokesperson for the ESB said electricity generation had stopped because “water levels on the Lee reservoirs have been impacted by the recent dry spell and ESB continues to meet its statutory flow obligation.

“Our primary aim is to continue to meet statutory flow on the Lee, which maintains water quality to a high level,” a spokesperson said. “This is regularly monitored and our most recent set of readings indicate that there is no cause for concern at this time.” Other parts of Cork are suffering serious consequences as a result of the continuing dry weather.

Water tankers have been needed in Ballyhooly for close to a week, to help residents cope with reduced water pressure and frequent interruptions.

“It is a very serious issue here,” local resident Josephine O’Driscoll told the Evening Echo. “We have low pressure all of the time, you can never trust our water here.” She says problems have been building in estates, on certain roads in the area and in the local school and community centre for more than a decade but it has reached crisis point with the need for the water tankers.

A graph from the ESB showing the average hourly discharge rates of water from the Inniscarra Dam from the beginning of May. 
A graph from the ESB showing the average hourly discharge rates of water from the Inniscarra Dam from the beginning of May. 
“I did my collection this morning,” she said. “We fill our cisterns and hope it will last.

“There are families with very young children and they can’t bathe their children. We have a good community here so we go help the older people that won’t be able to get to the tanker, but they are reliant on neighbours.”

She said Cork County Council and local representatives are doing their best but residents are finding it almost impossible to communicate with Irish Water. They are holding a public meeting in Ballyhooly Community next monday at 8pm and are calling on Irish Water to attend.

 Just 1.5 cubic metres of water is being released from the inniscarra Dam each second. Picture: David Keane

Just 1.5 cubic metres of water is being released from the inniscarra Dam each second. Picture: David Keane

Other parts of the county are also seeing reduced pressure and are at risk of outages and the public is being asked to conserve water wherever possible. So far Cork has not been hit with a hosepipe ban, in place in Dublin since Monday, but that could change.

On the Beara peninsula, the water buffalo on Leo O’Shea’s farm are getting a taste of the lives of their brethren in warmer climes, invading streams on the farm to cool down in the baking sun.

“They originated in India and Asia so they can handle the heat fine, once they have somewhere to cool down,” Leo said.

“It is usually in mud but the mud patches are dry so it is into streams and lakes around they are going now.”