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Policy Information

Flood Risk Management

Published: 9 January 2018
From: Office of Public Works


Policy on the management of flood risk in Ireland is coordinated and implemented by the government.

The Office of Public Works has the national authority for the implementation of the EU Directive on the Assessment and Management of Flood Risks 2007/60/EC.

Policy and Co-ordination

The National Flood Risk Policy approved in 2004 involves the development of a planned programme of prioritised feasible works, with a greater emphasis for non-structural measures.

Sectoral activities of other departments and agencies are coordinated through the Inter-Departmental Flood Policy Coordination Group and the Shannon Flood Risk State Agency Co-Ordination Working Group.

Read more about policy and coordination.

Management Plans

The Office of Public Works, through its Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme, carried out the largest ever flood risk study in Ireland to date, undertaking a detailed engineering assessment of 300 areas or communities believed to be at significant risk of future flooding.

In 2018, Minister of State with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Flood Relief, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran TD published 29 Flood Risk Management Plans to address flood risk in Ireland.

These plans include 118 additional flood relief schemes and are available to download, with supporting documentation, from the Publications section of www.floodinfo.ie.

Read more about management plans.

Flood Defence

Since 1996, 42 major flood defence schemes have been constructed throughout the country, protecting 9,500 properties. A further 8 new schemes are currently under construction with a further 26 schemes at design/development. All completed schemes have performed well in protecting the towns and communities concerned.

Minor Works and Coastal Erosion

The Office of Public Works Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme provides funding to local authorities to undertake minor flood mitigation works or studies, costing less than €0.75 million each, to address localised flooding and coastal protection problems within their administrative areas.

Drainage Maintenance

The 11,500km of river channel, including approximately 800km of embankments form part of the Arterial Drainages Schemes completed since 1945.

These are kept under proper repair and in an effective condition through an annual maintenance programme. Consent is required from Office of Public Works to construct, replace or alter a bridge or culvert.

Read more about flood defence.

Flood Awareness

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 public can also 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.

Read more about flood awareness.

Maps, Data Resources and Specifications

There is a range of maps, hydrometric data resources and technical specifications and guidance notes available to assist our Stakeholders and inform policy and planning.

Information and relevant links for Flood Hazard Maps and the Irish Coastal Protection Strategy Study (ICPSS) can be found here:

Flood and Erosion Mapping

Information and relevant links for real-time and archived water level data can be found here:

Hydrometric and Hydrological Data

The OPW has also developed the following applications website to host maps of completed flood defence schemes and arterial drainage schemes and to provide access to the draft Flood Risk Management Plans:


The OPW has prepared a number of technical specifications and guidance notes that it makes use of when commissioning work, such as the design of flood relief schemes and the preparation of flood maps. These may be applied as relevant by other authorities where there is an intention to work with the OPW.

Technical Specifications and Guidance Notes

Environmental Activities

The OPW carries out a range of environmental assessments for various flood risk management plans and projects.

The main assessments carried out by the OPW include:

Strategic Environmental Assessments

Environmental Impact Assessments

Appropriate Assessments

Ecological Assessments

Read more about Environmental Activities