The Office of Public Works (OPW) has no overseeing role or authority in relation to the River Shannon. Operational control of water flows and levels on the Shannon is the responsibility of both the ESB and Waterways Ireland.
The core strategy for addressing flood risk in the Shannon Basin is the Shannon Catchment Flood Risk Assessment & Management (CFRAM) Study. The CFRAM Programme, currently being undertaken by OPW with its technical consultants, and in partnership with local authorities and other stakeholders, entails comprehensive catchment-based studies. Under the Programme, following public consultation, detailed flood maps are produced and flood risk management measures are assessed and taken to outline design. These measures will be prioritised and set out in a Flood Risk Management Plan. More information on the Programme is available on www.cfram.ie.
The Shannon CFRAM Study is being conducted by Jacobs Engineering on behalf of the OPW and I am advised that good progress is being made on the project. The Shannon River Basin District covers some 17,800kms2 and includes parts of 17 counties. A total of 66 locations along the Shannon have been identified for further assessment under the Study. The output of this important project will be an integrated plan of specific measures to address, in a comprehensive and sustainable way, the significant flood risk factors in the Shannon basin.
Under the Study, work on Draft Flood Maps will be finalised during 2014 and Flood Risk Management Plans are due to be finalised in 2015. The Shannon CFRAM Study involves public consultation with individuals and organisations who have an interest in the Shannon including property owners, recreational users, the farming community and environmental stakeholders. The extensive consultation with stakeholder groups under the study is a recognition of the multifaceted nature of the Shannon river system and its diverse uses and functions. The examination of flood risk management options for the Shannon will also give due consideration to its varied uses and functions through the application of a Multi Criteria Analysis which takes into account Environmental and Social criteria as well as Economic and Technical criteria. This is very much in keeping with the recommendations of the Rydell Report. More information is available on the project website www.shannoncframstudy.ie.