Outrage at ongoing wait for hi-tech map to prevent flooding

Edel Kennedy

A THREE-dimensional map of the capital which could save it from severe flooding is still in the planning process -- 15 months after torrential downpours caused almost €100m worth of damage.

The promised map would show where water flows on Dublin's streets in heavy rain and would allow officials to plan the positioning of gullies and drains in future so the water could drain away more quickly.

Despite assurances last year to create the state-of-the-art mapping system, the Irish Independent has learned that the process is still at the tendering stage, 15 months after the city ground to a halt after torrential rain.

Floods in the capital in August last year caused €98m worth of damage after the equivalent of one month's rain fell in around six hours.

And in a report afterwards Dublin City Council admitted that the existing drainage system "cannot cope with the extreme volume of rain that fell" on August 9, 2008.


The delay in the map's creation means it will be at least a year before the mapping system is in place -- and even longer before the necessary works to reposition drains can be carried out.

The project, part of an EU-wide Flood Resilient Cities Project, would divide the city into cells and use radar to map each area. Half the €5m cost will be funded by the EU.

For example, in Christchurch, water naturally flows down Fishamble Street and into the River Liffey, but it could take a left -- depending on the ground conditions -- and flow down into the basement of Dublin City Council.

The mapping will show the at-risk areas across the city and could result in a ban on the use of tarmac and brick pavements, as they allow water to flow out on the road.

It would also allow developers to design housing schemes with more green areas and fewer paved surfaces, which channel water onto public roads.

Fine Gael environment spokesman Phil Hogan last night said there was "no excuse" for the tendering process to take so long.

"It's clear that Ireland is way behind other jurisdictions on early warning systems," he said.

He said a national flood warning system could save millions of euro.

Fine Gael are bringing a Private Members' Motion before the Dail tomorrow which proposes the development of a national flood warning system.