Minister Harris, Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW), has announced that the Irish Government is working with the Dutch Government to benchmark Ireland’s approach to flood risk management. Flooding is identified by Ireland’s National Risk Assessment as one of the two highest risks facing the country. In 2004, the Government adopted a new, proactive, catchment-based and holistic approach to managing flood risk. The OPW, as lead agency for flood risk management, has been actively planning and delivering a number of programmes to give effect to the strategic approach. At the core of the new approach is the Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme.
Minister Harris highlighted that the Government’s proactive approach to managing flood risk is the correct approach. “However, new challenges are emerging and we have to plan for these” he said. Impact of climate change is a key challenge that has to inform our flood risk management plans for the future. Given the CFRAM will over the coming months identify the most feasible solutions for the 300 areas at most significant risk from flooding, now is an opportune time for Ireland to ensure that our plans, governance and Government’s investment are informed by and can be benchmarked against international best practice. To achieve this objective, the OPW has begun work with the Dutch Risk Reduction Team. This team is internationally renowned for its advice to governments all over the world on how to manage flood risks.
The team will compare the Irish Flood Risk approach with international good practices. The Dutch review team consists of three members. The leader of the team, Prof. M. Kok, is Professor of Flood Risk at the Delft University of Technology and has extensive worldwide experience in Flood Risk management. He is accompanied by Marit Zethof and Marjan den Braber, two experts in flood risk and the governance of it. The team will compare the Irish Flood Risk approach with international good practices. “The Team has already observed that Ireland has undertaken extensive work since 2004, and the question is whether the approach needs modifications to inform its plans and face the future challenges. I am confident that the Dutch experience with certainly help to give a straight answer to this question” Matthijs Kok explained.