The Deputy is aware that following severe flooding in the late 1990s in Clonmel, a flood alleviation scheme was developed by the OPW which was publicly exhibited, as required under the Arterial Drainage Acts, in December 2001 and January 2002. Concerns were raised by Waterford and South Tipperary county councils that there might be contaminated material in the river bed which was due to be dredged as part of the alleviation measures and which would therefore have major environmental implications.
As a result of these concerns, the proposed scheme was re-examined and a revised scheme was proposed earlier this year, which included the use of demountable defences which have developed greatly in the past few years. This revised scheme has the advantages of requiring no dredging of the river, along with bringing the level of protection against flooding to a one in 100 year protection.
In April this year I attended a meeting with the elected members of the borough council where I outlined the revised scheme and the way in which it was to be implemented. I explained it was hoped to implement the scheme in a phased manner over a period of four to six years depending on available funding. The first phase included the development of a flood warning system and the clearing of debris from streams and culverts in the town. The next step in the process would be the formal public exhibition of the scheme, which it is hoped to have in the spring of 2005.
The development of the flood warning system has already begun and is being carried out by the engineering services of the OPW. It is hoped that the installation of flood warning equipment will commence in the next two months, with a report due in January 2005 containing the recommended system. At this stage it is felt that the clearing of various streams and culverts might be best carried out when the major construction work commences. Subject to a successful public exhibition next spring, the scheme will be brought to detailed design and, subject to confirmation by the Minister for Finance, construction work on walls and embankments will commence as early as possible after that.