Award for keeping the River Lee flowing during the 2018 drought

Award for keeping the River Lee flowing during the 2018 drought
The floating pontoon installed at the Inniscarra Dam during the drought last year to maintain the flow of the River Lee.

The rapid installation of a pumping system at the Inniscarra Dam to keep the River Lee flowing during last summer's drought has won an international engineering award.

Irish Water and Tipperary company Campion Pumps worked together to create a floating steel-framed pontoon with three submersible pumps to maintain the flow of water past the Inssicarra Dam.

As a result, the organisations won the Project of the Year award at the Pump Industry Awards held in the UK last month.

The lack of rainfall during the summer of 2018 reduced reservoir levels at Inniscarra to historic lows. The water supplies to Cork city and surrounding areas, as well as river flows downstream of the hydroelectric dam, were at risk if contingency measures were not put in place.

Within three weeks, Campion Pumps and Irish Water designed, assembled and successfully deployed a 16-tonne steel plate pontoon pumping arrangement. 

Anchored to new mooring points on the dam and fitted with three 37kW submersible pumps the emergency arrangement ensured the River Lee kept flowing, fish life was protected and a population of 250,000 plus industry were unaffected.


The works were facilitated at the Inniscarra Dam by the ESB and the contingency arrangement remained in place for six weeks during the drought.

Neil Smyth, Irish Water’s Regional Operations Lead, said: “The work carried out at Inniscarra last summer in response to drought conditions was extraordinary. The emergency measures put in place helped to secure water supplies for a population of 250,000 as well as significant industry across the wider Cork area."

"Efforts like this became priority number one for Irish Water as the dry weather severely impacted our ability to maintain supplies to communities and businesses across the country. While the award recognises the significant work at Inniscarra, I think it’s symbolic of the enormous contribution by all water services staff in response to the extreme weather conditions of 2018.”

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