Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Questions (18)

Denis Naughten

Question:

18. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the steps being taken to address flood risks within the Shannon basin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10263/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

There is on-going progress in respect of the River Shannon Catchment Flood Risk Assessment & Management (CFRAM) Study which is the core strategy for addressing flood risk in the Shannon Basin.

That assessment is being carried out by Jacobs Engineering, consultants for the Shannon CFRAM Study. In brief the current stages of the assessment covers Data Collection & Surveying, Hydrology Analysis and Detailed Hydraulic Modelling. This stage in turn will lead to the production of a detailed suite of flood hazard maps for public consultation. Details of the Study and regular updates can be found on www.cfram.ie or http://shannoncframstudy.ie.

At present, detailed ground surveying of over 1,500 kilometres of watercourses in the Shannon is nearing completion. The outcome of this stage of extensive activity will provide the necessary data to allow work on the development of sophisticated hydraulic models to be advanced.

As the Deputy is aware, Jacobs Engineering was requested by the Office of Public Works (OPW) to carry out a review of the operating regulations and procedures of the control structures along the river Shannon - the River Shannon Water Level Operations Review. The purpose of the report was to identify potential improvements with respect to flood risk management that could be introduced in the short term. This review was carried out in advance of the detailed hydrological analysis and hydraulic modelling which is being addressed within the overall Shannon CFRAM Study.

Arising from consultations on the report, it was agreed, to explore the possibility of carrying out a water level monitoring exercise, involving controlled raising and lowering of weir boards at selected locations, subject to favourable hydrological conditions.

It is important to note that operational control of water flows and levels on the Shannon is a matter for both the ESB and Waterways Ireland. The OPW met with both organisations recently to review the scheduling of such an exercise having regard to existing water management protocols operated by these two bodies for the major storage areas in the Shannon system. It has been agreed that Jacobs Engineering will brief the two bodies shortly on their Operations report in order to advance the water monitoring proposal.