The Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management Study (CFRAM) is the Office of Public Works (OPW) largest ever study of flood risk in Ireland. It identified 300 communities (and approximately eighty percent of properties) at risk from rivers and the sea. Ninety of these communities were coastal communities.
The OPW has undertaken detailed analysis of the 300 communities including the preparation of flood maps and plans to determine their vulnerability to the potential impacts of climate change. The OPW’s appraisal of flood risk and the choice of future measures took into account the assessment of risk for two potential future scenarios, the: Mid-Range Future Scenario - increase in rainfall of twenty percent and sea level rise of 500mm (20 inches); and, High-End Future Scenario - increase in rainfall of thirty percent and sea level rise of 1,000mm (40 inches).
These maps and assessments provide valuable information for the OPW, local authorities and other sectors in planning for adaptation against increasing flood risks due to climate change.
As Minister of State for Flood Relief, I secured €1bn for a ten year programme of investment in flood relief schemes that will protect ninety five percent of properties at assessed risk of flooding.
The detailed design of the flood relief schemes set out in the Flood Risk Management Plans, published in 2018, will include the comprehensive analysis and assessment of adaptation strategies to ensure that the schemes will protect against, or can be adapted to, potential future increases in flood flows and/or flood levels due to climate change.
The OPW will shortly be publishing, for public consultation, a revised Climate Change Sectoral Adaptation Plan for Flood Risk Management. This is being prepared in line with the requirements of the National Adaptation Framework published in January 2018.
Adaptation planning is a cyclical process, with the National Adaptation Framework and the sectoral plans prepared under it being reviewed at least once every five years in line with the Climate Act. This will ensure that we adopt a dynamic approach to adaptation planning which is informed by the latest scientific evidence thus enabling Government Departments, Agencies and Local Authorities to modify or escalate adaptation actions, as appropriate.