River Catchment Management

JBA recognise the importance of understanding the whole river system from source to sink, and apply this thinking to our studies

The Flood Policy Review published in 2004 sets out the strategic direction for flood risk management in Ireland which shifted the emphasis in addressing flood risk towards a catchment based context, with Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) studies at the core of a comprehensive programme of work required to implement this policy.  This approach is driven by both the EU Water Framework Directive and the Floods Directive. 

The EU Water Framework Directive is an important piece of EU environmental legislation which aims at improving our water environment. It requires governments to take a new holistic approach to managing their waters. It applies to rivers, lakes, groundwater, estuaries and coastal waters.  The Floods Directive requires Member States to assess if all water courses and coast lines are at risk from flooding, to map the flood extent and assets and humans at risk in these areas and to take adequate and coordinated measures to reduce this flood risk.

JBA has completed a wide range of river catchment management projects, from national scale to local planning authority scale, which demonstrate our expertise in river catchment management, and in meeting the requirements of both the WFD and the Floods Directive.  Of particular note is JBA’s involvement with the OPW Western CFRAM, the Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme and the EIS for the Clonakilty Flood Relief Scheme.

We have experience of starting with pilot studies and then implementing a programme of plan making at catchment scale. We were the first consultant to design Strategic Flood Risk Assessments, Catchment Flood Management Plans and Preliminary Flood Risk Assessments in the UK, and have transferred that knowledge and experience to the work we undertake from our Irish offices. In addition, JBA is a Framework consultant to the Rivers Agency and has been a leading partner in catchment based assessments in Northern Ireland. 
The scale of any catchment management study requires a higher level of thinking than site specific assessments and the main elements in our opinion are as follows:

  • Engagement (process, scale of the risk, identification and selection of options, buy-in to the plan)
  • Production of an evidence base (modelling, mapping, appraisal output and the plan)
  • Planning (land use, land management, strategic direction, scheme options).

Our proven ability to cascade a methodology, improve it and deliver to programme is unsurpassed in flood risk management