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LETTER: Urgent need of flood defences

January 23rd, 2016 4:07 PM

By Southern Star Team

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SIR – We hope 2016 will see the Office of Public Works implementing plans faster to stop or lessen the impact of river floods like this winter causing hundreds to leave their homes with some areas never before flooded. 

Fermoy and Mallow have two flood defences each and one more for each town is under construction. Clonmel’s flood defences worked well, but Bandon was flooded twice in December and is in urgent need of any defences like Midleton and Glanmire.  

Cork city to wait some years more. The OPW have surveyed nearly all areas in the country at flood risk.

There have been worse ones in the northern hemisphere with the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, when the river flowed at a peak of two million cubic feet per second with half a million people made homeless. 

They had a flood in 1993 with about one million cubic feet per second. 

Compare with here when up to 500 cubic metres (17,657 cubic feet) per second released on the river Shannon’s Parteen Weir after days of rains in December and 535 cubic metres per second at its peak from the Inniscarra reservoir into the Lee in 2009 after days of rain with very high tides at same time into Cork.

2011 saw another major Mississippi flood caused by storms and spring snow melt in some states, killing 14 people in Arkansas.

The US Army Corps of Engineers built over the decades; higher levees, pump stations, flood gates and flood walls costing billions of dollars along parts of the 2,320 mile-long river which drains all or part of 31 US states and two Canadian provinces exiting at the Gulf coast of Mexico. It is seen as the artery of the United States. 

Some of the pumping stations like one in Memphis installed in 1915 was still successfully working in 1991. A pumping station on the river can pump up to 20,000 gallons of water per second. After the 2011 flood however, they consulted experts outside their country for more ideas.

Perhaps, with their expertise in this area, the US Army Corps of Engineers can be consulted on our flood defences.

The Netherlands had their serious river floods over the years, which had the authorities move people from their homes in areas regarded as indefensible from floods to live on higher grounds and funded by the government.

Mary Sullivan,

Cork.

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