DUBLIN ENGINEERS were this week gearing up to commission an urgent study into the risk of flooding in the city, amid fears of a repeat of February's storm surges, which left many homeless.
Some residents remain in temporary housing after a flash flood struck low-lying parts of the city near the Liffey, Dodder and Tolka rivers on 1 February, flooding around 1,000 homes and businesses.
A combination of high tides, low atmospheric pressure and a sea surge brought water levels to 1m higher than predicted.
It has emerged that more serious damage could have resulted if water levels had risen by another 150mm to 250mm, according to city engineers.
An investigation has revealed that an area of around 2.6km 2inpart of the city centre's shopping area north of the Liffey river narrowly avoided inundation.
'The flooding was an exceptional event with an estimated return of 1 in 750 years, higher than the previous record floods in 1924, which are the benchmark against which all defences are designed, ' deputy Dublin City engineer Tom Leahy told NCE.
The Tolka and Dodder tributaries flow through suburban areas north and south of the Liffey, which divides the city.
Existing defences are mainly quay and sea walls, many with access openings which allowed floodwaters through.
A nine month consultancy contract will start in November to produce a flood defence strategy for the city.
Leahy said priority works would be indentified quickly before the development of an overall strategy for the city, covering around 18km of coastline from Merrion in the south to Portmarnock in the north.
The possibility of a barrage is also being examined, with feasibility studies already carried out by Belfast consultant Ferguson McIlveen.
'It may well be that a barrage could have an important role to play in our coastal defence strategy, ' said Leahy.
www. nceplus.co.uk/magazine/ flooding