Work is to begin as a ‘matter of urgency’ to prepare flood defences in Mountmellick.
Following the severe and unprecedented flooding of November 22, 2017 in north Laois, Laois County Council has confirmed that it has agreed a number of measures with the Office of Public Works (OPW).
Work will commence as a matter of urgency in preparing the detailed design and engineering specification for flood defences in Mountmellick.
The detailed design will include a review of the Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management mapping (CFRAM) taking into account the recorded flood depths of November 22, 2017 and the identification of any additional flood defences necessary for the town and
Laois County Council will establish a Project Office locally to manage the design, implementation and construction of a flood relief scheme on behalf of and in partnership with the OPW.
The Project Office will also manage the design and construction of flood relief measures considered necessary for Portarlington.
Short term assistance
Laois County Council is currently considering further short term actions including an improved flood/rainfall community alert system, further river and channel clearance works and the provision, on a pilot basis, of defence equipment for flood prone and flood affected domestic properties.
Regional Climate Change Offices
The Council notes the recent trend of increased flood risk and severe weather events in the County and the Country at large.
In this respect Laois County Council is currently preparing a local Climate Adaptation Strategy in accordance with agreed guidelines and will work with the recently established Regional Climate Change Offices throughout Ireland in order to plan for future strategic and operational responses to the phenomenon of climate change and changes in seasonal weather patterns.
The new Flood Relief project office will work hand in hand with OPW and the Regional Climate Change Office to ensure future resilience in flood relief works in north Laois and the upper Barrow Catchment Area.
A number of actions / works have been carried out by Laois County Council since November 22.
At the time of the November 2017 flooding event The Council, including its engineering and outdoor crews along with Laois County Council Fire Services supported by Laois County Council Civil Defence and the Defence Forces aided with the substantial clean-up, provision of Skips, provision of De-humidifiers and emergency repairs to damaged infrastructure as well as the provision of emergency accommodation by the Housing Section of Laois County Council.
Laois County Council also established a Humanitarian Aid Office in Mountmellick for a period after the event to support the locals affected by the extreme flood event in November 2017 – Laois County Council committed funds of over €208,000 to these efforts.
In the period since the severe flooding in November, the Council has undertaken a programme of river channel clearance in the Blackwater; Owenass catchments.
Also in this period a detailed analysis and assessment of damage caused to Roads and bridges has been carried out in order to make a submission for funding for repairs to the relevant government departments
The Local Authority also wishes to convey its’ thanks to the many residents of Mountmellick and Portarlington who supported and assisted all those affected by flooding in both communities.