Bantry Flood Relief Scheme

The project shall comprise up to five stages.

Stage 1: Scheme Development and Design

Assess and develop a viable, cost-effective and sustainable Scheme, to allow the design flood event along the Bantry & Mealagh Rivers and their tributaries without causing flooding of properties, in so doing protecting against flooding from pluvial, fluvial, groundwater, tidal and surge.

Carrying out a Constraints Study to identify the key environmental issues in the study area, which may be impacted upon by possible flood alleviation measures, and/or which may impose constraints on the design and viability of these measures.

Preparation of the Appropriate Assessment Screening Statement.

Public consultation, including Public Information Days. The purpose of the first Public Information Day is to gather information from the public about their experiences of flooding in the Study Area along with their thoughts on possible solutions to the flooding problem and their preferences in this regard.

Development and identification of preferred scheme, informed by:
Multi-criteria assessment of options including environmental assessments
Cost Benefit analysis for the preferred scheme

Stage 2: Planning process

Complete the necessary planning and any other statutory processes, to progress the preferred Scheme through Part 10 Planning under the Planning and Development Act 2000 or confirmation under the Arterial Drainage Act 1945.

Stage 3 – Detailed Design, Confirmation and Tender

Undertaking the detailed design of the final preferred scheme.
Confirmation of the Scheme by the Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform where relevant.
Preparation of Contract Documents and undertaking the procurement of a works contractor to construct the Scheme.

Stages 4 and 5 – Construction and Handover of the Works

A Natural Water Retentions Measure (NWRM) Feasibility Assessment will be undertaken when assessing the solutions to mitigate flooding in Bantry. Where it is feasible for NWRM to contribute to flood reduction in the Scheme Area, or to contribute to the mitigation of the environmental impacts of the Scheme, these measures will be developed as part for the Scheme.

Project area

Culverts Map

South West Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Study

Further detail is available on

Parts of Bantry have been identified as being at risk of flooding. The areas at risk in particular follow the path of the Mill River, Alley River and Scart Stream through the town and the Mealagh River to the north of the town.

Bantry is also affect by tidal flooding with coastal areas identified as at risk. There are also problems with the poor structural condition and flow capacity of culverts in the town. One of the significant causes of flooding is high tides entering the local drainage network and causing sewer flooding as well as river flooding from the Bantry Stream and tributaries. Bantry is prone to flash flooding from the numerous small steep rivers that flow through the town.

Map of Bantry Culverts

For more detailed maps of culvert system in Bantry see

WFD Natural Water Retention Measures Working Group

NWRM Working Group Membership

Donal Grant
EPA Catchments
Jenny Deakin
Patrick Morrissey
Keiron Phillips
Emma Quinlan
Shane O’Boyle
Wayne Trodd
Conor Quinlan
Conor Galvin
Fergal Kelly
Nathy Gilligan
Mark Adamson
Wolfram Schluter
Shane Regan
Aine O’Connor
Ciara O’Leary
Local Authorities Water Programme
Carol McCarthy
Fran Igoe
Local Authorities
Marian Healy (Offaly CoCo)
Neil Higgins (DCC)
Mary-Liz Walshe (DCC)
Bernard Harris
Claire Casey
Forest Service
Kevin Collins
Ken Bucke
Taly Hunter-Williams
Philip O’Dea
Bord na Mona
Enda McDonagh
Noel Meehan
Irish Water
Claire Coleman/Lorraine Gaston
Angela Ryan/Mairead Conlon

Terms of Reference for the Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRM) Working Group – 2019 to 2021


Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRM) are multi-functional measures that aim to protect and manage water resources and address water-related challenges by restoring or maintaining ecosystems as well as natural features and characteristics of water bodies using, or replicating, natural means and processes.

They are designed to enhance and preserve the water retention capacity of aquifers, soil, river channels and their associated ecosystems. The over-all effect is primarily to slow the inflow of water to rivers and streams, and to then attenuate the flow in-stream, and reduce the impacts of downstream flood events in terms of peaks and duration.

The purpose of the Working Group will be:

The purpose of the Group is to assist and advise the EPA on issues related to NWRMs. This group will be formally established in 2019 with a view to operating through the second cycle developing approaches and into the third cycle of the Water Framework Directive in an implementation phase.

This group will therefore likely continue after 2021, according to need. Therefore, the terms of reference for this group have been drafted to reflect this.

The Agency has the responsibility of assessing significant pressures, impacting surface waters and groundwaters, and developing appropriate measures to address those identified pressures. The requirement for NWRM’s is set out in Section 7.8.2 of the current River Basin Management Plan.

This says “Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRMs) could potentially be used as mitigation measures to address water-quality problems as part of the second RBMP programmes of measures.

They could be used in a similar manner to the measures described in the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes (TAMS) and the DAFM Native Woodlands Schemes, providing multiple benefits in relation to water quality, biodiversity, climate-change adaptation, fisheries, landscape amenity objectives and flood attenuation.

NWRMs work by storing or attenuating water in the environment, allowing it to be released slowly, either as runoff to rivers and streams or by soakage to the water-table. By slowing or reducing runoff, flood flows downstream can be reduced. This is typically achieved by changing land-use practices in the catchment, so that soils have a greater capacity to store water. These land-use changes can include the rehabilitation of wetlands and the construction of new storage, such as retention ponds. In-channel works and restoring river meanders can also be used to slow the flow.”

The Working Group will support the EPA in matters related to this programme. This will ensure effective integrated catchment management and the achievement of WFD objectives.

It also may facilitate the development of synergies with other complementary work areas such as the Floods Directive. This will in turn prevent duplication of effort and maximise effectiveness.

The Working Group will:
• Advise and support the NTIG in identifying examples of best practice, assessing the
appropriateness of NWRM’s in the Irish context, reviewing research and identifying
knowledge gaps, development issues and potential pilot projects going forward.
• Collaborate with other WGs (e.g. National Hydromorphology Working Group, Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government Technical Working Group on Hydromorphology to support the Planning Guidance) as necessary.
• Report to the National Technical Implementation Group and, where appropriate, inform the Water Policy Advisory Committee, of progress.
• Interact with Common Implementation Strategy (CIS) technical activity at EU level.
• Facilitate communication among relevant stakeholders.

Actions and deliverables

-to develop a proposal for including NWRMs as part of a broader suite of mitigation measures that could contribute to the achievement of environmental objectives set out in the second RBMP
-support further research on NWRM
(a) To explore new measures; (b) To consider how existing measures can be adapted to
achieve multiple benefits in an Irish setting.

OPW to work with the EPA, local authorities and other agencies to identify, where possible, measures that will have benefits for both WFD and flood risk management objectives

Proposed Outputs of Working Group
• The national EPA NWRMs work plan for 2018 to 2021 includes the following:
o assessment of NWRMs in Irish conditions;
o assessment of research and appropriate pilot projects
o proposed approach for roll-out of NWRMs (if appropriate)
o best practice guidance for NWRMs.

Working Group Members
• Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government
• Local Authority Sector representatives
• Local Authority Waters Programme
• Inland Fisheries Ireland
• Office of Public Works

• National Parks & Wildlife Service
• Forest Service/Coillte
• Bord na Mona
• Teagasc
• EPA Representatives (Catchments unit, Ecological Monitoring and Assessment, Hydrometric and Groundwater, Licensing)

Consultancy assistance may be procured by the EPA to assist the Working Group as necessary.

Proposed Chairperson: Jenny Deakin

Secretariat will be provided by the EPA.

Proposed Timelines: The Working Group will be temporary and will operate from March 2019 until at least December 2021. If there is need to continue the group after this date new terms of reference will be developed for the group

Note: working group met in 2019 and the reports published in 2020 were the final output from this group. No meetings since

Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRM) Evidence and Opportunities for use in Ireland

Working Group, September, 2020, Version no. 2

The Water Policy Advisory Committee (WPAC) requested that the National Technical Implementation Group (NTIG) develop a proposal for including Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRM) as part of a broader suite of mitigation measures that could contribute to the achievement of environmental objectives set out in the second River Basin Management Plan.

This report and its findings are intended to build a useful knowledge base of evidence for use of NWRM in the Irish context. It is supplementary to the report which focuses on implementation of NWRM in terms of policy and funding – Overview and Recommendations for Use in Ireland.

The objectives of report are :
• Define Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRM) and highlight the various categories of measures that exist;
• Briefly summarise the key features of each measure largely drawing on the resources listed in Section 1.1;
• Outline a methodology for selecting targeted measures for strategic prioritisation in
• Provide more detailed descriptions and evidence for the prioritised measures;
• The findings from this review will then feed into a complimentary report which examines policy level options for strategic implementation of such measures.

The working group met three times in 2019 and this report and its recommendations reflect the discussions and learnings from these working group meetings.

Workshop held on 02/12/2019

AIE: Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRM) Working Group

AIE 2-2-2022

The Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRM) Working Group was established to advise the National Technical Implementation Group of the Water Framework Directive on the use of NWRM through Nature Based Catchment Management Solution [NbCMS]. The working group met three times in 2019 and once in 2020. The working group produced two reports, ‘Overview and Recommendations for Use in Ireland’ and ‘Evidence and Opportunities for use in Ireland’. These reports were both finalised in 2020 and presented to the National Technical Implementation Group for their consideration

Please provide the Minutes of the Committee and any documents circulated.

Please provide copies of ‘Overview and Recommendations for Use in Ireland’ and ‘Evidence and Opportunities for use in Ireland’.

How Can Investment in Nature Close the Infrastructure Gap?

This report provides an estimate of how much nature-based infrastructure can save costs and create value relative to traditional grey infrastructure.

How does nature-based infrastructure (NBI) perform compared to grey infrastructure? How can NBI help to bridge the infrastructure gap? And what outcomes would emerge from shifting investments from built infrastructure to nature?

Building on this overarching question, this working paper aims to answer these questions by bringing together two elements of research: a literature review on infrastructure investment needs and the results from IISD’s Sustainable Asset Valuations (SAVi) of NBI projects.

This research shows that NBI provides the same services but is up to 50% cheaper than traditional infrastructure. In addition, NBI provides 28% better value for money.

It also shows that an infrastructure swap could create additional benefits worth up to USD 489 billion every year—a figure that rivals the annual GDP of countries such as Austria, Ireland, or Nigeria.

A Framework for developing Blue Green Infrastructure (BGI) & Nature Based Solutions (NBS) in the Southern Region

The objective of this Framework is to provide greater clarity to public authorities, particularly local authorities, of how to create greener and more climate resilient settlements through Blue Green Infrastructure and Nature-Based Solutions.

This Framework will provide good practice examples of where greener and more climate resilient settlements have been achieved through BGI and NBS. These examples will be international and national.

It is also important to be clear on what a BGI and NBS Strategy for the Southern Region will not deliver:

  • The Framework is not an action plan for delivering specific policies, initiatives or projects.
  • The Framework does not replace or usurp any existing statutory or national processes.
  • The Framework is not a statutory policy document.
  • The Framework is not an investment document with an associated budget.

The recommendations of the Framework are a high level, regionally captured resource that will require next step progress under the initiatives and processes of the responsible stakeholders (such as specific plan making, new policy formation, masterplans, specific projects) which will comply with required environmental assessment processes (Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Appropriate Assessment (AA) as appropriate.

Quantifying the hydrological implications of pre- and post-installation willowed engineered log jams (Pennine Uplands, NW England)

Nature Based Solutions (NBS), including Natural Flood Management (NFM) schemes are becoming an important component of many governmental and organisation responses to increases in flood and aridity risk.

NFM structures may take multiple forms to slow, store, disconnect and filter distributed overland flowpathways within a catchment that coalesce to generate a flood-wave downstream and runoff rather than infiltrate groundwaters.

To date few studies have conducted observations pre- and post-installation monitoring at river reach-scales, despite widespread and frequent installation, to investigate the efficacy of willowed engineered log jams (WELJs) interventions used in abating flood-flows, through backing-up flood-pulses with consequent reductions in downstream discharges.

This paper examines the efficiency, before and after installation of five 1 m high WELJs incorporating 1,000 Bay willow (Salix pentandra) saplings supporting the dead horizontal timber, across a total of 130 linear metres spanning the floodplain of a decommissioned reservoir. One rain gauge, two fixed point time-lapse wildlife cameras and three water level stations were installed: upstream-of, within, and downstream-of all WELJs.

The findings demonstrate a substantial reduction is achieved for most events, with an average of 27.3% reduction in peak discharge being achieved post-installation. The time to peak is little impacted, however there is demonstrable evidence of a longer and higher recessional limb to the events. These findings quantify for the first time the role that WELJs can play in a move towards re-naturalisation of water level regimes, with lower peak water flows achieved, and waters released from the river-reach more slowly.

Furthermore, baseflow during dry periods is also elevated by 27.1%, offering greater resilience to dry periods and droughts. Consequently, over the river-reach scale (0–130 m), WELJs play an important role in alleviating flood and drought risk through suppressing flood peaks and increasing baseflow during low flows; steps towards improved hydro-morphological quality overall.


Willowed log jams (∼dams) have been installed frequently to reduce flood risk

Few studies have assessed pre- and post- installation changes to watercourse flows

Discharge data shows an average 27.3% reduction on peaks, following installation

River-reach (0–130 m) wildlife camera photos and levels confirm attenuation

Willowed log jams re-naturalise flows, locally alleviating floods and droughts.

Click to access pdfft

Natural Water Retention Measures Working Group. FOI Request 21/10/2021

Under the FOI Act to request

Details of the membership, governance, remit and copies of all minutes/agendas for meetings in 2020/2021 for the following committee set up under the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage  

Natural Water Retention Measures Working Group

Note for context:

A NWRM Working Group has been established to advise the Water Framework Directive (WFD) National Technical Implementation Group (NTIG) on proposals for including NWRM as part of a broader suite of mitigation measures that could contribute to the achievement of environmental objectives set out in the second RBMP. The group has met three times in 2019 and includes a broad range of stakeholders reflecting the wide range of land use types covered by NWRM and also the multiple functions and co-benefits that they can provide.

FOI forwarded from Housing to EPA. Due date 30/11/21


EPA refusal of FOI application was based on ‘intent to publish not later than 6 weeks.’ As the EPA appears not to have published the records within the timeframe, I have asked the OIC for advice on a) does the applicant now need to make a request for Internal Review to the EPA (which adds another 4 weeks to the process), or b) does the applicant now need to Appeal to the OIC, bypassing the Internal Review ?

This is important procedural question, as in theory a public body could add six weeks (or however long) to all FOI processes, and then not publish the records, or publish something different or less than the records requested

Not that I believe that EPA are doing this, but I want to establish if they, or another body could use ‘intent to publish’ as a way to delay FOI/AIE process

Strategic Look at Natural Water Retention Measures

Project AttributeProject Details
Project Titlea Strategic LOok at natural WAter reTention mEasuReS
EPA Project Code2018-W-LS-20
Lead OrganisationUniversity of Dublin, Trinity College (TCD)
CoordinatorMary Bourke
EPA Research 2014 – 2020 Theme(s)Emerging and cross cutting issues
EPA Research Pillars
Project Start and End DatesStart: 01/02/2019
End (if applicable): 31/01/2023
Revised End Date (if applicable):
EPA Project TypeLarge Scale Project
EPA Award TypeSTRIVE – Project Based Awards
Current Project StatusGrant Awarded
Total Funding Amount507990.49
Project Abstract/DescriptionThe proposed research will assess the benefits of Natural Water Retention Measures for agricultural catchments in Ireland. The project outputs will specifically provide recommendations for the management of specific catchment types relevant to the Irish environment by quantifying the magnitude of NWRM required to reduce flood peaks. Using GIS-based mapping techniques, hydrological modelling, and full scale field demonstrations, our research will develop a portfolio of potential approaches and methodologies to reduce flood risk and generate multiple benefits including sediment, nutrient and ecosystem enhancements. Demonstration sites will show how to design, build and instrument NWRM. Equally, the demonstration site will be visited by numerous stakeholder groups to evaluate the practicalities of uptake of NWRM on Irish farms. Scaling up methodologies will demonstrate approaches for investigating NWRM in other Irish catchments, at a range of spatial scales. Key to scaling up will be the use of Teagasc research catchments that have unique event scale datasets and agricultural stakeholder networks. Our research will underpin policy by identifying across scale the measures that are most effective at targeting flood flows, providing beneficial ecosystem functions whilst having minimum effect of farm economics. Peer review publications will be produced by all partners. Reports for policy makers, will take the form of workshops, web and guidance documents. Delivered through many media including web and traditional formats. Research capacity building will be increased through training of new research staff, demonstration of new methods to Teagasc, OPW, EPA and Irish water through workshops and a national conference. Key to this will be the construction of demonstration sites will full scale examples of NWRM in a local network of 4-5 features. Stakeholders, regulators and practitioners can use the site for learning and evaluation. Teagasc will consider the uptake of NWRM at research sites at later date and will thus bring practical NWRM to the Irish agricultural community. The project will increase research capacity in Ireland.
EPA Scientific OfficerLisaJohnson

Research based Assessment of Integrated approaches to Nature based Solutions

Project AttributeProject Details
Project TitleResearch based Assessment of Integrated approaches to Nature based Solutions
EPA Project Code2019-W-DS-34
Lead OrganisationVesi Environmental Ltd
CoordinatorAila Carty
EPA Research 2014 – 2020 Theme(s)Water: Theme 4: Understanding, Managing and Conserving our Water Resources
EPA Research Pillars
Project Start and End DatesStart: 01/04/2019
End (if applicable): 31/03/2022
Revised End Date (if applicable):
EPA Project TypeDesk Study
EPA Award TypeSTRIVE – Project Based Awards
Current Project StatusGrant Awarded
Total Funding Amount71438.23
Project Abstract/DescriptionRain Solutions aims to develop an integrated framework of methodologies to assess Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) for the restoration and rehabilitation of urban water resource systems. The research will identify stakeholder and urban ecosystem needs to inform NBS planning and design. The work will review existing experiences of good practices and capitalise upon them by simulating the impact of climate variability and existing urban infrastructure, which in turn will lead to the development of an indicator system for the evaluation of key NBS. The indicator system will allow for assessment of water quantity and quality issues in an urban environment, whilst also examining socio-economic aspects for the communities which benefit from such NBS developments within their area. All of these will be brought together to create an NBS planning and design framework, supporting by machine learning, to generate recommendations which will address challenges associated with climate variability and the well-being of urban areas. The conclusion of the research of all aspects above, will lead to a self-sustainable web-based framework which will work in collaboration with stakeholders and allow for the transfer of knowledge to both potential new stakeholders and the wider community. The expected outputs from this research project are as follows; A) Report examining the impacts of Integrated Constructed Wetlands on communities in Dublin city suburbs. B) Examination of ICW performance for the treatment of contaminated waters. C) Mitigation effects of the ICW systems on extreme weather events. D) Production of a framework for local authorities, development groups, licensing and enforcement, and community groups.
EPA Scientific OfficerRachelClarke