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Water cuts possible due to big freeze



Date Published: 08-Jan-2010

GALWAY City Council was on the verge of shutting down the city’s water supply on Wednesday night as reservoir levels had dipped “critically low” due to the massive surge in usage associated with weeks of freezing weather, the Galway City Tribune has learned.

Water levels at the city’s reservoirs, particularly those serving the west side of the city, plummeted to unsustainably low levels due to a dramatic 16% increase in demand for water since the cold weather hit.

And there are concerns that unless water is conserved, the reservoir levels could dip further to dangerously low levels and Galway City Council will have no option, but to restrict the supply of water this weekend – to allow the reservoirs to naturally run dry could cause serious long-term damage to the city’s water piping network.

All this week the reservoirs were not being replenished at night, as is the norm, and hundreds of homes all over the city, in particular from the Claddagh and Shantalla westwards, have been experiencing low water pressure and in many cases no water at all.

However, on Wednesday night, the Council was “very close” to shutting down the city’s water supply according to Director of Services Ciarán Hayes, who has renewed his appeal to businesses, schools and households to conserve water so that the reservoirs can be replenished.

“We are appealing for water to be conserved citywide. I don’t want a situation where I’ll have to ration water or to shut-down the supply of water at night. The reservoirs have been at critically low levels in recent days due to a 16% increase in demand, which is quite dramatic for the city.

“Wednesday night we were very close to shutting off the water. Luckily, we are maintaining the levels and we will monitor it over the coming days.”

Asked how likely it is that the water will have to be cut off this weekend, Mr Hayes said “I can’t say at this stage”.

“It is serious. We are managing to maintain the levels and we will continue to monitor the situation but if the water drops below a certain level we will have no option but to restrict or shut down the supply.”

The massive surge in water usage occurred because of burst pipes and people leaving taps running day and night to avoid pipes freezing over – pressure cannot build in the mains, and as a result water stocks are depleted.

Mr Hayes said the Council has this week identified and fixed two major water pipe leaks – one in Shantalla and one on Threadneedle Road – which has helped to ‘plug the gap’ and allowed the reservoirs to replenish somewhat but conservation by users is paramount to avoiding a total ‘shutdown’ or restriction of the water supply in some areas.

The leak in Shantalla has been identified as the cause of low-water pressure in the area since mid-November and it was not, as has been rumoured, caused by the works being carried out as a result of the replacement of the lead system, Mr Hayes said.

He said water from the reservoir serving the east side of the city had also been rerouted to areas in the west of the city which was worst affected. Renewing his appeal to conserve water, Mr Hayes said the public has responded well to date.

The County Council has had to restrict supply in several areas throughout the County due to a 30% to 50% hike in water usage since the cold spell hit.


Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past



A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.


For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup



Date Published: 29-Jan-2013

Athenry FC 1

Kilbarrack United 2

(After extra time)

For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.

On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.

An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.

However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.

They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.

With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.

Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.

Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.

Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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