Other Bodies that Deal with Flood Risk Matters

Planning Guidelines - Front CoverWaterford

While the lead public body in the area of flood risk management is the Office of Public Works, action on flood risk and flooding involves a wide range of organisations and people.

Public Awareness and Preparedness - www.flooding.ie

The public can reduce the impact of floods by being aware of the flood risks and potential impacts and being prepared to take action if and when a flood occurs. Please see www.flooding.ie for further information.

Flood Forecasting and Warning

Flood forecasting and warning can be an effective tool in flood risk management by enabling authorities, businesses and the public to take actions in advance of a flood to reduce the damage the flood might cause, such as moving valuable items upstairs and evacuating vulnerable people to safe locations.

Flood forecasting systems have been developed by the OPW for Clonmel, Mallow and Fermoy for the operation of demountable defences that form part of the flood relief schemes for these towns. It is intended that the experience gained from developing and testing these systems will be used to identify and implement an appropriate flood forecasting and warning system for Ireland.

Flood Emergency Response

A prepared and appropriate response from the relevant emergency response bodies (principally the Local Authorities, Gardaí and Health Services) can mitigate the potential negative impacts of major flood events.  The Major Emergency Management website (www.mem.ie) contains the Guide to Flood Emergencies and the Protocol for Multi-Agency Response to Flood Emergencies.

Planning and Development

Local Authorities are the planning authorities. They decide whether to grant or refuse planning permission for building and development. They also create a Development Plan every 6 years, which sets out their planning policies.  The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government provides guidelines to Local Authorities on sustainable development, including the management of flood risks‌. The OPW is a statutory consultee for major spatial plans, such as Regional Planning Guidelines, and Development Plans, under the Planning Act, 2000.

National Roads and Rail Networks

The National Roads Authority and Iarnród Éireann are responsible for dealing with flooding and flood risk matters on the national road and rail networks, respectively. 

Flood Defence Schemes and Minor Works

In recent times, the OPW has worked in partnership with Local Authorities, to put in place flood defence schemes, such as those completed in Kilkenny and along the Tolka River in the Dublin area. Once completed, the OPW is responsible for the maintenance of these flood relief schemes. The Local Authorities also have powers to undertake flood defence works under the Local Government Acts.

The OPW Minor Flood Mitigation Works & Coastal Protection Scheme provides funding to Local Authorities to undertake minor flood mitigation works or studies, costing less than €0.5 million each, to address localised flooding and coastal protection problems within their administrative areas.

Risk of Flooding in Coastal Areas

The OPW has powers to implement works to reduce the risk of flooding in coastal areas. The Local Authorities also have such powers under the Local Government Acts.

Coastal Erosion

The management of problems of coastal erosion, in any particular area, is first and foremost a matter for the relevant local authority.  The local authority must assess the problem in the first instance and, if it considers that specific measures and works are required, it can submit an application to the OPW for funding to implement those measures under the OPW's Minor Coastal Works Scheme.  This Scheme is one of the principal means through which the OPW, in conjunction with the local authorities, is tackling the problems of coastal erosion.

Land Drainage and River Maintenance - incl. Drainage Districts

Under the Arterial Drainage Act, 1945 the OPW undertook a number of arterial drainage schemes to improve land for agricultural production. The OPW has a statutory duty to maintain these schemes, which is delivered through their arterial drainage maintenance programme. The OPW does not have powers to undertake river or channel maintenance other than where these rivers form part of an arterial drainage scheme or flood relief schemes.

Drainage Districts are areas where drainage schemes to improve land for agricultural purposes were constructed. The duty of maintenance for these lies with the Local Authorities concerned.

In other areas, the responsibility for the condition of the channel and riverbanks typically rests with the riparian owner.

Roads and Bridges, Fire Services, Water and Sewerage Services and Drainage

Local Authorities provide essential local services such as roads and bridges, fire services, water and sewerage services and drainage. They also control dangerous places and buildings.  Matters pertaining to flood risk from drainage and sewerage systems are dealt with by the Local Authorities.

Further Information

Information for homes and businesses at risk from flooding:www.flooding.ie

Major Emergency Management Website:www.mem.ie

Planning System and Flood Risk Management Guidelines (PDF)

Planning and Development - Technical Guidance (PDF)

Statutory Consultation - Planning and Development