Ireland is Warming and Coastal Flooding will Continue

Ireland is Warming and Coastal Flooding will Continue

13 February 2014 at 14:52

Our climate is continuing to warm and Ireland is likely to experience more coastal flooding according to Mark Adamson, Chartered Engineer, Head of Flood Relief and Risk Management Division, Office of Public Works who believes “we do need to consider future changes.”

Speaking at the Flood Risk Management seminar, which took place on Wednesday 12th February in Engineers Ireland HQ in Dublin as part of Engineers Week, Adamson outlined that since 2009 “in terms of minor works to address flood plans, €29m has been approved for 430 projects with approximately 2,500 properties protected. In terms of major works, 32 schemes have been completed and approximately 8,000 properties have been protected as a result. There are a further eight schemes in construction with 23 schemes in design or stages of planning.”

Liam Basquille, Principal Officer with the Flood Risk Management Section of the OPW went into further detail about the capital works programme and stated, “It will require continuing commitment to maintain current levels of investment.” Basquille also pointed out that the Department must focus on getting some of the works underway before the main tourist season begins.

Addressing a room of over 130 engineering professionals, Gavin O’Donovan from RPS spoke about the success of the Waterford flood alleviation scheme highlighting that a coordinated effort of managing both design elements with flood protection measures delivers the desired outcome.

Dr Jimmy Murphy from the hydraulics and maritime research centre at University College Cork presented on the various types of coastal environments on the island. In particular he focused on the soft sandy coastlines which dominate the Irish shores and explained how dunes are a critical part of this country’s coastal environment. 

Dr Murphy spoke about how to predict extreme events and rank them from high to low and their cost implications. He illustrated coastal protection methods by using Medmerry in East Sussex, with the building of 7km of new sea walls up to 2km inland, protecting up to 350 homes in the area, as an example.

Commenting at the Engineers Week seminar, Engineers Ireland Director General and Chartered Engineer, John Power said: “As we have seen over the recent months, flooding has had a devastating effect on Irish communities. This seminar, while timely, is an important industry event to hear about the lessons learned from the past and an opportunity to share and discuss technical and practical knowledge as issues are unfolding.”

The Flood Risk Management seminar as part of Engineers Week also featured case studies from Clare, Galway and Cork County Councils on the recent floods and storm damage that have affected the regions in 2013/2014 and the steps the local authorities are taking, even with already limited and stretched resources, to protect their communities against further damage. 

Engineers Week is running all this week with activities taking place nationwide. The week is coordinated on a national basis by Engineers Ireland as part of the STEPS programme, which is a strategic partner of Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Discover Programme. For further information about Engineers Week 2014 or to register attendance at an event, visit EngineersWeek.ie.

Photo caption: John Power, Chartered Engineer and Director General, Engineers Ireland and Mark Adamson, Chartered Engineer, Head of Flood Relief and Risk Management Division, Office of Public Works pictured at the Flood Risk Management seminar, which took place on Wednesday 12th February in Engineers Ireland HQ in Dublin as part of Engineers Week.