The town of Midleton is located at the confluence of the Owenacurra and Dungourney Rivers, 24km east of Cork city and within the wider Cork Harbour area. Midleton has a strong history of flooding over the past 40 years.

In recent years, the most notable flooding events occurred in November 2000, October 2004, June 2012, July 2013, January 2014, February 2014, October 2014, December 2015 and January 2016. These events included both fluvial and tidal events, as well as groundwater flooding and pluvial flooding events.

Investigating the reasons behind frequent floods

Following the severe flooding event of winter 2015/16, Arup was commissioned by Cork County Council to undertake an emergency review of the flood event. The aim of this scheme is to minimise risks to the existing community, social amenity, environment and landscape.

The review highlighted the significant groundwater component of the flooding and the importance of understanding the hydrogeology of the Midleton area to ensure that any future flood relief measures designed for the area are effective.

After a public procurement competition, we were appointed by Cork County Council to develop a viable, cost-effective and sustainable flood relief scheme that addressed all four sources of flood risk: fluvial, tidal, groundwater and pluvial.

Minimising risks by understanding the data

During the first stage of the project, we completed data collection, baseline surveys, hydrology, hydraulic modelling and damage assessments to develop a range of viable options.

Arup presented the potentially viable options at a Public Participation Day (PPD) in Midleton, where the general public and all interested parties were invited to give their opinions.  

A benchmark scheme for flood management

Following on from the PPD and feedback received, Arup was commissioned to undertake a Natural Flood Management (NFM) assessment, considering opportunities for NFM measures within the scheme. We have also developed a detailed Climate Change Adaptation Plan (CCAP) for Midleton, the first of its kind in Ireland, and which is to be used as an exemplar for all future CCAPs for flood relief schemes in the country.

A multi-criteria analysis on the range of potential options will be undertaken, considering the technical feasibility, costs, and the environmental, archaeological, social and visual impacts. Following this, an emerging preferred option will be selected. Another PPD will be held to inform the public of the emerging preferred option and seek feedback.