Galway continues to weather the crisis

Fire fighters tackle the gorse fire to prevent it from spreading in the Barna area on Tuesday. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

DROUGHT conditions across Galway that are expected to continue for at least another ten days are putting increasing pressure on farmers, the fire service and Irish Water.

Fire Brigade units across the county were ‘flat out’ earlier this week dealing with a series of gorse fires, the most serious of which occurred in the Barna area, just west of Galway city, on Tuesday last.

This week, Irish Water issued a renewed appeal to ‘the Galway public’ to do everything they can to conserve water as levels continue to drop in rivers, lakes and boreholes across the county.

Many dairy farmers across the county are now facing into increased costs – as high as €1,750 per week – with meals being purchased to supplement grass and silage as growth has now stalled almost completely.

And while there are some indications of high pressure tending to be less dominant over the coming fortnight, the weather forecast for the next seven to ten days is only for very small amounts of rainfall to occur.

Several fire brigade units were involved in bringing a major gorse fire under control in the Truskey West area of Barna on Tuesday afternoon last through to Wednesday morning.

While no houses were under threat with the blaze, smoke led to traffic delays on the Moycullen to Barna road for a time on Tuesday afternoon and evening.

Irish Water this week said that lowering water levels in the River Suck were giving ‘major for concern’ in the greater Ballinasloe area while night-time water restrictions in Inishmore on the Aran Islands were now extended to 8pm to 8am.

Night-time restrictions are also continuing on the western fringes of Galway city extending out to the Barna and Moycullen areas, while boreholes supplying water schemes in North Galway, are ‘extremely low and a cause for major concern’.

Restrictions also remain in place in the greater Ballyconneely area in West Connemara while in South Galway, customers in Clarinbridge, Kilcolgan, Roveagh, Ballinderreen and Tyrone Group Schemes have been urged to conserve water.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.