Public & Stakeholder Engagement

The project will include opportunities to participate in public consultation.

 

Click on the buttons below to access some of the key documents associated with this consultation:

Introduction

Galway County Council and the Office for Public Works (OPW) are bringing forward plans to deliver the South Galway (Gort Lowlands) Flood Relief Scheme. The proposals aim to develop flood protection measures across the region and mitigate the impacts of extreme flood events.

An application will be submitted under the Arterial Drainage Acts 1945 and 1995 to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform who will decide on the scheme.

Click here to view the introductory video from Galway County Council.

March 2021 Emerging Preferred Option

Following the 2018 consultation and wider progression of the plans in late 2020 including undertaking a feasibility study, Galway County Council and the OPW are now presenting the Emerging Preferred Scheme in the 2021 public consultation.

We Want Your Views

To inform the final design of the scheme and prior to submitting the planning application, Galway County Council and the OPW are holding an online public consultation which will begin on 26 February and close on 3 April 2021.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the 2021 public consultation is taking place online.

Get In Touch

  • Email: southgalwayfrs@ryanhanley.ie
  • Phone: +353 (0)91 509 309
  • Address: South Galway – Gort Lowlands Flood Relief Scheme Galway, County Council, Áras an Chontae, Prospect Hill, Galway, H91 H6KX

Leave feedback or contact the project team to answer any questions you have. The project team includes a design team (Ryan Hanley) in addition to the environmental team (Mott MacDonald).

An online questionnaire is available for you on the consultation website to submit your views.

Questionnaire

 

Thoor Ballylee
Thoor Ballylee

How Did We Get Here?

The Gort Lowlands area experienced exceptional flooding during the winters of 1994/1995, 2009, 2014 and 2015/2016 and most recently in 2020.

The design process will be developed in stages, with opportunities for the public to take part in the decision-making at each stage.

The project has benefitted from work carried out by Trinity College Dublin (TCD) Research and Hydraulic Modelling of the lowland karst network. This work was further supplemented by research carried out by Geological Society of Ireland (GSI).

An Emerging Preferred Scheme is now being presented to the public and stakeholders after detailed modelling work, engineering analysis and a feasibility study which identifies the potential for flood alleviation measures.

An Options appraisal for the scheme has been progressed in parallel with the feasibility study.

The Emerging Preferred Scheme

Overview

The Emerging Preferred Scheme- the scheme that is being presented for public consultation includes for a combination of structural flood risk management measures. These comprise; conveyance improvements, local flood protection measures, flood alleviation channels and culverts, road raising, channel maintenance, field boundary walls modifications on overland flow paths, drainage works, pumping facilities, and ancillary works.

A brief video on the Emerging Preferred Scheme is available to view here.

The Emerging Preferred Scheme can be summarised as follows:

    • Flood relief works in the central Gort Lowlands, Gort Town, Labane Area, Roo Area and Termon
    • 16km of channel works
    • 303,000m3 of excavation
    • 30 large culverts
    • Flood alleviation channels and culverts will provide a temporary surface water pathway between susceptible locations in South Galway and Kinvara Bay
    • Each channel/culvert would be developed to withhold Target Maximum Flood Levels. This will protect communities across the Gort Lowlands from a one in 100-year flood event
Emerging Preferred Scheme
Emerging Preferred Scheme

Summary Table

Flood duration poses particular difficulties in South Galway. Hydrographs show on a graph how water level varies with time. Infographics incorporating flood mapping and hydrographs have been prepared for Blackrock, Caherglassaun, Coole and Lough Coy.

In developing the Emerging Preferred Scheme, the project team was conscious that overland flows could alter salinity levels in Kinvara Bay. This needed to be investigated further, so MSN Hydro was commissioned to build a salinity model for the bay. A video explaining how this model works is available at the following link.

The project has benefitted from work carried out by Trinity College Dublin (TCD) Research and Hydraulic Modelling of the lowland karst network. This work was further supplemented by research carried out by Geological Society of Ireland (GSI). The TCD model has been used to calculate design flood levels and predict how flood levels will change following construction of a scheme. A brief video explaining this model is available to view at the following link.

Sometimes it can be difficult to visualise the scheme described on the scheme drawings. Hopefully these artist's impressions will make the job that bit easier.

Blackrock Channel Over­flow at Skehanagh (Existing View, With Scheme in place [dry], With Scheme in place [wet])
Kiltartan Over­flow at the ‘Corker’ (Existing View, With Scheme in place [dry], With Scheme in place [wet])
Cahermore Overflow (Existing View, With Scheme in place [dry], With Scheme in place [wet])
N67 at Kinvara  (Existing View, Following future culvert replacement)

Who Would Benefit?

    • Flood mitigation– The scheme aims to alleviate flood risk by optimising flood storage in floodplains for a one in 100 year flood event in the Gort Lowlands area.
    • Protecting communities and businesses– Safeguarding local communities and businesses through flood resilience mechanisms to limit the impact of future flood events across the area.
    • Safeguarding local properties– The scheme is designed to withhold a maximum capacity event (i.e. a one in 100-year flood event), which will protect properties across the South Galway Gort Lowlands.
    • Transport infrastructure– Essential transport hubs and links across the area will be protected from long-term disruption, ensuring routes remain open.
    • Cultural heritage–Important heritage and cultural sites would be protected including Thoor Ballylee Castle and Visitor Centre, Coole Park Gardens and Kiltartan Church. The scheme also the potential to yield previously unrecorded cultural features of interest.

What’s happening in your area?

Further information on specific Emerging Preferred Scheme works throughout the study area is presented below.

Drawing: SCH004   Flood Map: FRA001   Blackrock Hydrograph
In the Blackrock Turlough and Skehanagh floodplains it is proposed to excavate a flood relief channel and install culverts from Blackrock to Carrowbaun East along the existing overflow route through Skehanagh Village. It is also proposed to raise road levels, construct a flood relief road at Grannagh and improve drainage at Skehanagh Village. Ongoing maintenance works of the Owenshree River at Ballybackagh Bridge and Blackrock Swallow Holes is also proposed.

Drawing: SCH004   Flood Map: FRA002
At Ballylee floodplain it is proposed to excavate a flood relief channel and install culverts from Rinrush to Ballyloughaun East along the existing overflow route through Rinrush, Deerpark and Castletown. It proposed to complete the flood relief road from Rinrush to the R348 (N18) via Newtown Hill. It is proposed to upgrade the channel and culvert at Newhall and Pollaleen from Carrowbaun East and the channel area at Newtown swallow hole in addition to ongoing maintenance of the Ballylee River channel and Pollanoween. At Thoor Ballylee it is proposed to install flood defences (permanent and demountable) at the complex to protect against the residual flood risk following the flood alleviation scheme.

Drawing: SCH003   Flood Map: FRA014FRA002

  • Gort Town

At Gort Town it is proposed to construct a flood relief embankment and wall to protect Crowe Street from direct inundation from the Gort River floodplain and to upgrade the embankments upstream of Gort Bridge. It is proposed to upgrade the Crowe Street drainage system and install a flood over-pumping station on the Ballylennaun Stream culvert outlet at Lidl. It also proposed to undertake some road raising and drainage works along the Kinincha Road. In addition, it is proposed to continue the maintenance of the Gort River channel upstream and downstream of the town, maintain Polltoophil clear of trash and flood debris and to remove derelict hydraulic structures along the river channel’s length.

  • Castletown

At Castletown it is proposed to install new culverts under the Castletown Road and Railway line and upgrade the flood relief channel from the Castletown Sinks (Polltoophill) to the Ballyloughaun floodplain (subject to further consultation with Irish Rail).

Drawing: SCH004   Flood Map: FRA002
It is proposed to excavate a flood relief channel which will intercept the flood relief channels from Ballylee and Castletown and direct overland flows into Ballyloughaun floodplain. At the Kiltartan end of the floodplain it is proposed that a new culvert is installed under the railway line (subject to further consultation with Irish Rail) and a second culvert is installed under the R458 (N18), together with a flood relief channel, to augment the existing flood relief culvert capacity. These culvert and channel flood relief works will facilitate the potential future raising and protection of the line by Irish Rail between Castletown and Kiltartan, will relieve flood risk at the R458, the Castletown Road and will facilitate the Ballylee and Blackrock flood relief works.

Drawing: SCH003   Flood Map: FRA003
It is proposed to upgrade the existing overland flow path between Kiltartan floodplain at Corker House to Raheen Demesne including excavation of a flood relief channel, culvert upgrade works at Kiltartan Road, and additional culvert capacity under the M18 and Kinvara Road at Raheen (subject to further consultation with Transport Infrastructure Ireland). It is proposed to raise road levels on the Kinvara Road at Kiltartan and Raheen. It is also proposed to carry out ongoing maintenance works at Polldeelin and Pollomuiri. It is proposed to install localised flood defences at a slatted shed complex at Raheen.

Drawing: SCH004   Flood Map: FRA008 & FRS011

  • Labane North

Construct localised flood defences at two houses and associated drainage works.

  • Labane South

It is proposed to excavate a flood relief channel to a pumping facility located to the south of Labane which will in turn discharge flood flows to a shallow flood relief channel through fields at Ballymarchaun and Ballinduff to the Ballinduff floodplain. A second flood relief channel will drain Ballinduff to Lissatunny turlough floodplain. There are no proposed changes to the existing regime at Lissatunny where the turlough floodplain drains to the M18 culverts at Raheen via a crossing under the railway line.

  • Cockstown

At Cockstown It is proposed to construct a flood relief culvert and channel with an inlet flow control to alleviate flood levels at Cockstown turlough which will drain overland to Tullira floodplain along the existing overflow route.

  • Tullira

At Tullira floodplain it is proposed (subject to consultation with Tullira Castle) to carry out swallow holes and channels maintenance works (ongoing inspections and removal of flood debris etc.) in the floodplain. Flood relief road raising and culvert works were recently undertaken by Galway County Council at Reaskgarriff within the floodplain.

Drawing: SCH005   Flood Map: FRA007
It is proposed to undertake improvement works to the existing Cloonteen River channel including an inlet flow control and removal of major channel blockages, upgrade the culvert capacity at Tierneevin and Poulataggle and undertake maintenance works at Cloonteen culverts under the Newline Road and at Tierneevin swallow hole (ongoing inspections and removal of flood debris).

Drawing: SCH005   Flood Map:FRA010
It is proposed to carry out existing overland flow path improvement works between Pouleenacoona and Roo comprising culvert upgrades at the local road (Poulataggle/ Roo) and boundary wall works. It is proposed to undertake maintenance works to the Roo swallow hole (ongoing inspections and removal of flood debris) and upgrade existing house flood defences at Roo. Proposed flood alleviation works at Lough Mannagh and Coole (Hawkhill) will also help to alleviate flood levels at Roo. These flood relief works will facilitate future potential road raising works at Pouleenacoona floodplain as part of an overall road upgrade scheme in the Boston area and would complement the overall scheme's objectives within the lowlands area.

Drawing: SCH003   Flood Map: FRA004  Coole Hydrograph

  • Lydacan

It is proposed to construct a flood relief channel from the Lydacan southern floodplain to the Crannagh – Coole floodplain, in combination with a flood relief culvert under the causeway road at Lydacan between the northern and southern flood plains, following the existing overland flood flow route.

  • Coole

It is proposed to install a culvert under the local access road at Ballynastaig woods and also to excavate a flood relief channel from Crannagh to Ballynastaig along the existing overflow route. It is also proposed to carry out road raising works to a property at Glenbrack.

Drawing: SCH003   Flood Map: FRA005   Caherglassaun Hydrograph
It is proposed to excavate a flood relief channel and associated culvert upgrades between the Caherglassaun and Cahermore floodplains along the existing overflow route. It is proposed to construct a flood relief road at Ballynastaig and Crannagh which bypasses the low lying- flood prone section of road at Caherglassaun and includes a culvert over the Coole flood relief channel.

Drawing: SCH002   Flood Map: FRA006
It is proposed to install flood alleviation works, comprising a channel and culverts, from Polldonoghue floodplain which discharge to Cahermore floodplain. Some road raising and culvert works are also proposed at Polldonoghue.

Drawing: SCH002   Flood Map: FRA006
It is proposed to excavate a flood relief channel and associated culvert between Cahermore floodplain and the Caherawoneen floodplain along the existing overflow route. It is also proposed to raise the road and houses’ access levels along the Kinvara Road at Cahermore.

Drawing: SCH002   Flood Map: FRA006

  • Caherawoneen South

It is proposed to construct a flood relief channel to the south of Caherawoneen wetland complete with a flood embankment and flow control structure. It is proposed to raise the Caherawoneen South local access road and install new culverts under the road embankment at the flood relief channel and upgrade the existing culvert capacity at the wetland. It is proposed to replace large stone walls with flood resilient fences along the existing overland flow path.

  • Caherawoneen North and Shessareagh

It is proposed to undertake localised land regrading and overland flow path improvement works (e.g. removal of large stone walls) coupled with sections of guide embankments and flood relief channel and culverts through Caherawoneen North and Shessareagh along the existing overland flow path.  It is not proposed to raise the Caherawoneen North local access road level.  Alternate access during flood events will be via the upgraded Caherawoneen South Road.

  • Carton and Dungory East

It is proposed to upgrade the culvert capacity and raise road levels at the R347 and N67 road crossings along the existing groundwater flood overland flow path. It is also proposed to excavate a flood relief channel and install guide embankments between the two roads. There are no works proposed downstream of the N67. Flood relief road raising and culvert works were recently undertaken by Galway County Council at Carton.

Drawing: SCH005  Flood Map: FRA009
It is proposed to install a flood relief culverts under the land access causeway and Termon Road at Termon North and to excavate a flood relief channel between the Termon North and Termon South flood plains along the existing overland flow path. It is proposed to upgrade the existing flood relief culvert (currently closed off) and install a new culvert inlet flow control structure discharging from Termon South floodplain towards Fiddaun. It is proposed to upgrade existing and excavate new flood relief channels between Termon South and Lough Doo and the Castlelodge River at Fiddaun. It is proposed to close off the existing channel connection between Termon South flood relief channel and the Attyslanny floodplain (which discharges to Lough Bunny) and to install a flow control structure at Fiddaun to maintain water levels at Fiddaun Bog during non-flood conditions.  Flood relief road raising and culvert works are being progressed currently by Galway County Council at Ballyboy.

Drawing: SCH005  Flood Map: FRA012 & FRA013

  • Lough Bunny

No flood alleviation works are proposed at the Lough Bunny floodplains due to the extremely sensitive and important nature of the waterbody. Road raising and culvert works, road upgrades and localised flood defences have been identified as the feasible flood relief works for these floodplains. While these works are not proposed to form part of the main Gort Lowlands flood relief scheme, they could be advanced as part of an overall road upgrade scheme in the Boston area which would complement the overall main scheme's objectives.

  • Kiltacky Beg

The appropriate flood relief works for this area would appear to be road raising and culvert works, localised flood defences at houses and existing drainage channel upgrade works. Such works would be separate from the main scheme and would be advanced using a different funding mechanism for flood relief works and these works would complement the overall main scheme's objectives.

  • Turloughmore to Tulla

Road raising and culvert works and road upgrade works have been identified as the apparent appropriate flood relief works for this local access route. Such works would be separate from the main scheme and could be potentially be advanced as part of an overall road upgrade scheme in the Boston area by a local authority and would complement the overall main scheme's objectives.

Environmental Considerations

    • The potential environmental effects from the Emerging Preferred Scheme were investigated under the following sections:
      • Land use, Social and Material Assets
      • Cultural Heritage
      • Biodiversity
      • Water Resources
      • Landscape and Visual
    • Further environmental assessment and field studies will be ongoing throughout the identification of the final scheme set out for confirmation as part of the public consultation.

Read our presentation on environmental considerations via this link.

Opportunities to enhance area’s biodiversity will be presented where possible in the scheme design.

Further ecological assessments will be carried out as the scheme is developed prior to the planning application. The scheme will be subject to Appropriate Assessment under the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 as amended.

Crowe Street
Crowe Street

Options Considered

Screening of Options  

 An initial screening stage was carried out to identify all potentially reasonable flood management measures. The options that were considered viable are being assessed at the options assessment stage of the scheme development.   

Two main alternatives:

Relocation – involves moving occupiers of properties at risk to new properties constructed outside of the area of risk.  Relocation does not address issues around connectivity to landholdings, working farms or disruption to regional transport routes.  Due to the large number of properties at risk within the South Galway (Gort) Lowlands Study Area, and the residual flood risk to infrastructure, property relocation will not be given further consideration where an alternative feasible, cost beneficial and environmental acceptable scheme exists.

The Emerging Preferred Scheme- the scheme that is being presented for public consultation includes for a combination of structural flood risk management measures. These comprise; conveyance improvements, local flood protection measures, flood alleviation channels and culverts, road raising, channel maintenance, field boundary walls modifications on overland flow paths, drainage works, pumping facilities, and ancillary works.

The Emerging Preferred Scheme uses a mixture of distinct flood relief measures, each of which were considered in their own right at the options screening stage.  These include for example storage and natural water retention measures (use of natural storage in turloughs), conveyance improvements (creation of new overland flow channels and upgrades to culverts), channel diversions (such as that proposed at Caherawoneen), flood defences, among others.

Other Options

Combination of Scheme and Relocation

The scheme being presented for public consultation has been developed using information currently available, and will continue to evolve through the stakeholder engagement and public consultation process, and as information becomes available on geotechnical and environmental constraints in particular.  It may transpire that property relocation becomes a more viable option on a local basis within the overall scheme area.

Sliabh Aughty Land Management  

The Slieve Aughty Uplands cover 205 km2 (43.6%) of the total Study Area (470 km2).  Understandably, the perception among the public and some stakeholders is that a solution to the flooding problems in the Gort Lowlands can be achieved through land management in the steeper Slieve Aughty Uplands.

Hydrological assessments have been undertaken by Trinity College Dublin to determine if improved land use management and attenuation works in the Slieve Aughty Uplands area would benefit flood relief in the Gort Lowlands area for the current scenario. The assessment concluded that any feasible and cost-effective works in the uplands area would have only minor benefits, their effectiveness would be difficult to confirm, and these works would not negate a requirement for extensive flood alleviation works in the Gort lowlands. Therefore, improved land use management and attenuation works in the upland areas have not been included in the Emerging Preferred Scheme. The scheme in the lowlands has been designed to account for the current flood volumes discharging from the upland areas. 
While the scheme presented for public consultation does not incorporate works in the Slieve Aughty Upland areas to mitigate current flood risk in the Gort Lowlands area, all improvements to land drainage practices by private landowners (i.e. forestry, windfarms, farmland) required in accordance with current directives and regulations are encouraged.

Do-nothing – is defined as the option involving no future expenditure on flood relief infrastructure or maintenance of existing defences/channels etc. As such the existing risk of flooding would persist within the study area. This is not considered to be a viable option as it fails to meet the needs of the community and sensitive receptors in the study area and has therefore been ruled out at the initial screening stage.

Larger Deeper Drainage Scheme

While the scheme being presented for public consultation will alleviate flooding of properties and key access routes, it is acknowledged that the emerging preferred scheme will not alleviate flooding of farmland.  In order to achieve this, it would be necessary to dig larger deeper channels and greatly reduce active water storage in natural floodplains.  Such a scheme would result in significant adverse effects on the integrity of European Sites.  This option has not been given further consideration where a feasible scheme exists which will achieve the key objective of the project, which is to alleviate flooding of residential properties.

What Are The Next Steps?

The scheme is currently in Stage I. Progression of the scheme to Stage II and subsequent stages is dependent on the successful completion of each preceding stage. For a scheme to proceed through the stages it must remain potentially cost beneficial and environmentally acceptable.

Following this consultation, the views expressed by the public and stakeholders will be taken into account in a review of the Emerging Preferred Scheme.  Once the project team is satisfied that the submissions and views have been satisfactorily addressed, a Preferred Scheme will be defined.  It is intended that geotechnical investigations will also commence at this point.

Provided the Preferred Scheme remains cost beneficial and environmentally acceptable, the scheme will proceed to Public Exhibition under the Arterial Drainage Acts (1945 & 1995).  At that stage, the scheme will again be presented to the public along with an Environmental Impact Assessment Report and Natura Impact Statement.

Table for stakeholder page

May 2018 Opening Public Consultation

public consultation day poster

The purpose of the initial public consultation in May 2018 was to seek initial views from the public and other interested parties in relation to the key issues that the study should address, discuss options to manage the flood risk in the area, and to highlight points of local importance that might constrain the design and/or viability of any potential flood alleviation measures.