National Flood Policy

Historically, flood risk management focused on land drainage for the benefit of agricultural improvement. With increasing urbanisation, the Arterial Drainage Act, 1945, was amended in 1995 to permit the OPW to implement localised flood relief schemes to provide flood protection for cities, towns and villages.

In line with changing national and international paradigms on how to manage flood risk most effectively and efficiently, a review of national flood policy was undertaken in 2003-2004. The review was undertaken by an Inter-Departmental Review Group, lead by the Minister of State at the Dept. of Finance with special responsibility for the Office Public Works (OPW). The Review Group prepared a report that was put to Government, and subsequently approved and published in September 2004.

The scope of the review included a review of the roles and responsibilities of the different bodies with responsibilities for managing flood risk, and to set a new policy for flood risk management in Ireland into the future.

The adopted policy was accompanied by many specific recommendations, including:

  • Focus on managing flood risk, rather than relying only flood protection measures aimed at reducing flooding
  •  Taking a catchment-based approach to assess and manage risks within the whole-catchment context
  • Being proactive in assessing and managing flood risks, including the preparation of flood maps and flood risk management plans. 

These recommendations lead to the development and implementation of the National CFRAM Programme.

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