The Use of Wetlands for Flood Attenuation

2016

The Aquatic Services Unit (ASU) with technical assistance from the School of Biological and Earth Sciences (BEES) and the Hydraulics and Maritime Research Centre (HMRC), all part of UCC, were commissioned by An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland, to carry out this review of the role of wetlands in flood attenuation in Ireland. As required under the EU Floods Directive (2007/60/EC), Ireland is currently developing a catchment based approach to flood risk management. An integral part of this process, as directed by European best practise guidance, is the identification of strategies to improve water retention within the catchment. The following review examines relevant wetlands types and their potential for flood attenuation in an Irish context, with an aim to their inclusion in future flood risk management in Ireland. Part I examined technical aspects and provides examples of wetlands in a flood attenuation role. Cost-effectiveness and economic values that can be attached to wetlands in a flood attenuation role are examined, through both market and ‘ecosystem services’ views. Part II identifies national legislation and policy affecting wetland habitat that may influence the potential for wetlands to become accepted as part of a national strategy for flood management. The report makes recommendations and is intended to inform national discussion on the future consideration of the use of wetlands for flood attenuation in Ireland.