Flooding and development

On Newstalk this morning, I heard Prof John Sweeney of NUI Maynooth (he’s a got a Nobel prize you know) talking about heavy convection rain and how with increasing temperatures over the Atlantic ocean we are going to see more of this in the summer in Ireland, most particularly the east coast. The cleanup continues in Finglas, Blanchardstown, Celbridge and nearby areas, not to mention Newcastle West, Co Limerick. People are resilient at times like this and I do not doubt how stressful seeing your own house flooded in two feet of water / sewage is. The news reports are filled with scores of sorry cases of home and businesses destroyed.

Not a single report that I have heard though has referred to why the flooding occurred in these places and not somewhere else. I am no hydrologist but I know for a fact that near the town of Newcastle West, there has been a large development of houses and other properties on the edge of the Arra river where formerly lay a forest. Concrete is not much good at absorbing water you know. The reason why the M50 between Finglas and Blanchardstown got it so bad was because of upstream development stretching from this area as far as Navan. A very new development near Glending wood in Co Wicklow was flooded badly and this site was the subject of a planning scandal in the late 1990s. The main street of Celbridge was treated to a dousing of human shit and piss because the pumps at the local water treatment plant could not manage the volume of water.

So if you bought a house in or near these areas in the last 5 years, chances are the area is going to suffer disproportionately from severe flooding every 18 months or so. Global warming hits home but so do rakes of bad planning decisions. There’s a local election coming you know.

UPDATE: oh, look John provides some reasons for not building on flood plains.