6k homes at risk of flooding

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Six thousand homes in Londonderry and Strabane are at risk from flooding, according to the latest data released by the Rivers Agency.

Thousands of “dwelling houses” were discovered to be at risk from a variety of flood sources, including rising tides, rising rivers and heavy rainfall.

Analysis of flood models for the North West conducted in July last year showed that 866 homes were at risk of a medium term (one-in-100 year) flooding event where the flooding source was a river or stream.

A further 1,647 homes were listed as being at risk of suffering a one-in-200 year medium term flooding event caused by surface water (>300millimetres).

And another 117 homes across Londonderry and Strabane were listed as being at risk from a one-in-200 year coastal flooding event.

A further 976 homes were listed simply as being at risk from “fluvial or coastal flooding” events, and 2,393 homes were said to have been at risk from a “fluvial, coastal or surface water>300mm” flooding event.

The total number of homes affected here stood at 5,999 showing how vulnerable citizens are to heavy rainfall, the rivers and the tides.

Unfortunately, it is not expected to get better in the years ahead.

Earlier this year the Sentinel reported how over half the homes and businesses in Northern Ireland were believed to be at significant risk of flooding from heavy rainfall or their coastal or riverside locations and that this was only likely to get worse as a result of climate change.

Des McKibbin, a researcher with the Department of Regional Development, last year, cited major flooding in the Claudy, Limavady, Strand Road, Foyle Road, Bogside and Creggan areas last July, among many examples of heavy inundations that had recently occurred throughout Northern Ireland in a briefing paper to inform the Water and Sewerage Services Bill. Mr McKibbin pointed out that 2010 had been the only year, since 2007, not to experience a serious local flooding event.

He said: “There is concern that the frequency of these events will increase in the future.”

He warned that 46,000 of the 83,000 properties here were at risk of flooding due to their coastal or riparian location and a further 20,000 properties were sited in an area at risk of flooding from a significant rainfall event. Rivers Minister Michelle O’Neill recently confirmed rivers in the Foyle system rose to once-in-a-generation levels during heavy rainfall this winter washing out flood banks and defences on the Burn Dennett and at Strabane and Clady.