On 3 May, I was delighted to launch 29 flood risk management plans and announce investment of €1 billion in flood risk management as part of Project Ireland 2040. These plans are the output from the catchment flood risk assessment and management, CFRAM, programme, the largest flood risk study ever carried out in the State. They set out the measures proposed to address flood risk nationally and include 19 new flood relief schemes to protect towns in the River Shannon catchment in addition to the scheme already under way in Athlone. Twelve of these have been prioritised as part of the ten-year programme.
Since the launch of the plans, the OPW and local authorities have been pro-actively engaging to advance the implementation of these schemes. Engagement with the local authorities is ongoing in respect of Springfield, Ballinasloe, Nenagh, Longford, Rahan, Castleconnell, Mohill, Leitrim, Clonaslee, Carrick-on-Shannon, Killaloe and, in Limerick city, King's Island and its environs. The procurement of consultants for the detailed design of these projects will commence in the near future.
Capital funding for the delivery of the existing schemes and the additional schemes identified by the flood risk management has been provided by the Government in the Project Ireland 2040 plan. Expenditure on flood risk management will increase to €100 million annually by 2021.
In January 2016, the Shannon Flood Risk State Agency Co-ordination Working Group was established by the Government to support the CFRAM programme and further enhance the ongoing co-operation across all of the State agencies involved with the River Shannon, including the ESB, Waterways Ireland, Bord na Móna, Inland Fisheries Ireland, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the OPW and the relevant local authorities. The Shannon group has taken a number of significant decisions since its establishment, including targeted maintenance at a number of locations, trialling the lowering of the levels on Lough Allen, studies to explore managing flood risk at the Shannon callows and lowering the Shannon below Parteen weir.