Engineers Ireland is delighted to participate in today’s Urban Nature-Based Solutions Strategy Workshop focused on surface water management, addressing a topic of vital public importance.

The workshop has been co-designed by five professional bodies: Engineers Ireland, the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland, the Irish Planning Institute, the Irish Landscape Institute, and the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, in conjunction with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the Local Authority Waters Programme, to seek advice in a range of areas for the successful implementation of a nature-based solutions.

In particular, the workshop will discuss the policy or regulatory actions that could be undertaken; the technologies, techniques, methodologies and technical resources that are needed; and the skills gaps or opportunities for cross-disciplinary action required, to improve surface water management and the implementation of urban nature-based solutions in Ireland.

Today’s event was opened by the Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan, whose Department published a best practice interim guidance document on nature-based solutions to the management of rainwater and surface water runoff in urban areas in 2022.

Employing nature-based solutions helps protect, restore, and enhance water quality; improves climatic resilience, in the face of increased risk of flooding and extreme temperatures; increases biodiversity; and creates more sustainable and climate adaptive urban neighbourhoods. These techniques, working with the prevailing geography, can minimise environmental impact and strengthen the best qualities of a locality, enhancing amenity and popularity.

However, there remains a need to engage with the full suite of stakeholders, and shift the conversation from theoretical through to practical application. Employing these techniques requires a change in the way we think about the design and delivery of our roads, streets, and public spaces across all of our communities in the early stages of projects.

Speaking about the event Damien Owens, Director General of Engineers Ireland, said,

“Nature-Based Solutions offer a sustainable way to manage surface water in an environmentally responsible way, managing not only flood risk, but enhancing water quality, quantity, and the biodiversity vital for our country’s ecological health.”

Today’s workshop will help to further drive much-needed discussion on the ways to ensure the successful implementation of nature-based solutions, which can help improve our water quality and provide more sustainable surface water and rainwater management in the midst of global climate and sustainability challenges.