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FLOODING TASKFORCE Report of the Flooding Taskforce on the Fermanagh Flooding of November 2009 OFMDFM July 2010 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The Flooding Taskforce is grateful to the people of Fermanagh who gave freely of their time and energies to detail to us the impact the November 2009 flooding had on them, as well as sharing their wider views and concerns about flooding in the Fermanagh area. Without the input of the local community obtained through the evidence gathering sessions and the many written submissions made, this report would not have been possible. The Taskforce would also like to express its gratitude to Fermanagh District Council for all of their help and advice and in particular for facilitating the evidence gathering sessions in Enniskillen and Lisnaskea. 2 CONTENTS Page 1. Executive Summary 5 2. Introduction 11 3. Background 13 4. Methodology 16 5. Review of the Fermanagh Flooding by the Rivers 18 Agency of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development 6. Taskforce Findings (i) Impacts of the Flooding 21 (ii) Issues Raised 30 7. Conclusions 58 8. Recommendations 61 List of Annexes Annex 1 List of Taskforce members Annex 2 Data on levels of Lough Erne during 2009 Annex 3 Rivers Agency Report – Fermanagh Flooding of 2009 3 4 1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Fermanagh Flooding of October 2009 1.1 During the course of late October and November 2009, County Fermanagh experienced what for many was unprecedented levels of rainfall. The result was that the area was subject to widespread flooding, leading to significant disruption to life in the county at both individual and community level. The Flooding Taskforce 1.2 The impact of the floods was such that the Northern Ireland Executive decided at their meeting on 3 December 2009 that a Flooding Taskforce should be established to investigate the causes of the flooding, identify lessons learned and consider measures required to mitigate the impact of any future flooding. 1.3 This cross-departmental Taskforce gathered evidence from members of the public in the affected areas, business people, local representatives and stakeholder organisations. A number of evidence sessions were held in Enniskillen and Lisnaskea so that the Taskforce could hear at first hand about the impact of the flooding on local life in Fermanagh. A significant number of written submissions detailing the impact of the flooding and offering potential solutions to the problem from a local perspective were also obtained from a wide range of individuals, businesses and organisations. Furthermore the Taskforce took full account of the issues identified by a Review of the Flood Response conducted by the Rivers Agency, Department of Agriculture & Rural Development. This report is attached at Annex 3. Key Findings 1.4 The evidence received by the Taskforce confirmed that the flooding had presented very considerable challenges to the local population – difficulties in accessing homes, shops, schools, farmland and 5 businesses; problems in caring for the vulnerable; public health concerns; animal welfare issues; and wider economic impacts were all reported in detail to the Taskforce. Potential longer term damage to the Fermanagh area in terms of its reputation as a tourist destination, a good place to do business, and even as a good place to live and raise families was also identified by a number of those giving evidence. 1.5 It became apparent to the Taskforce that the flooding events had also brought a strong sense of community spirit to the fore, with residents displaying resilience and a readiness to help themselves and their neighbours to deal with the worst effects of the floods. Without this, and despite the considerable assistance and support provided by the responding agencies, it is generally recognised that the impacts, particularly at an individual level, could have been much worse. 1.6 While the consequences of the flooding were extensive and varied, the residents of Fermanagh felt strongly that the main contributory factor to the flooding was associated with the way in which the Lough Erne system was managed, from the Upper Lough to the hydroelectric power generating station at Ballyshannon. Section 6 of this report sets out in detail how the system is managed by the Rivers Agency in the North and by the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) in the South, and in particular how this is achieved in such a way as to meet drainage needs within the lough basin as well as the power generating requirements of ESB. 1.7 It was equally clear that those who submitted evidence believed there to be two potential solutions to the alleviation of the risk of future flooding and the mitigation of the impacts of such events – namely that the level of Lough Erne should be lowered (by up to 600mm / 2 feet); and/or that a number of key pieces of roads infrastructure should be raised to mitigate the effect of flooding of the surrounding lands. Detailed discussion of both of these issues may be found in Section 6, and the outcome reflected in the report recommendations at Section 8. 6 Conclusions 1.8 The Taskforce undertook a detailed analysis of all of the evidence provided, the main conclusions arising from this were: • The extensive flooding in Fermanagh during November 2009 had a profound impact on the lives of local people. • In light of the substantial and potentially long lasting consequences from the flooding it is important that more is done to alleviate the impact of future serious flooding in Fermanagh. • The flooding was as a direct result of very heavy and persistent rainfall in Fermanagh during October and November 2009 which exceeded the drainage capabilities of the Erne System. • The Erne System complies with recognised drainage standards and it would not be economically or environmentally feasible to increase the capacity of the system to a level where flooding from extreme events, such as the November 2009 flooding, could be prevented. Neither would it be feasible to significantly reduce existing water levels, given the detrimental impact this would have on the natural environment and on water based tourism. • During October and November 2009 the Erne System was managed by Rivers Agency and the Electricity Supply Board in accordance with the Erne System Operating Regime. This Regime was first developed in the 1950s and should now be the subject of an in depth review to ensure that it adequately meets modern day needs. As part of this review consideration should be given to the feasibility of bringing forward the winter drawdown of Lough levels to maximise storage. 7 • Subject to sufficient funding being made available, the level of investment in flood mitigation works in Fermanagh should be enhanced to include works to key roads infrastructure to protect key transport and access routes. In addition the feasibility of options for a flood alleviation scheme to protect Derrychara Link, Enniskillen, from inundation from Lough Erne should be examined. • Flooding risk in Fermanagh cannot be eliminated completely. • All organisations engaged in flood response and recovery must ensure that their emergency plans and networks are maintained and further developed to deal with the consequences of future serious flooding. • In order to minimise the impact of any future flooding, steps must be taken to protect the delivery of essential services to local people during times of flood. This will include carrying out a programme of works to the Killyhevlin Water Treatment Works to further protect the supply of public drinking water in Enniskillen. In addition, all organisations responsible for the provision of essential services to the local community, especially emergency / health care, education and refuse collection must ensure that robust contingency arrangements are in place to protect the provision of these vital services to areas affected by such flooding. • It is vital that the local community is as prepared as possible to deal with the consequences of any future flooding. The public must have accurate information about flood risk in the area, know what to do in a flood situation, and how to access help. An education and public awareness programme should be developed to inform the local community, including school children, about flooding in Fermanagh and this should specifically include information on the 8 Erne System. Taskforce Recommendations 1.9 Following detailed examination of all the evidence adduced the recommendations of the Flooding Taskforce are: Management of the Erne System • An in depth review of the Operating Regime for the Erne System should be conducted to ensure that the arrangements and parameters for the management of the Erne System are adequate to meet modern day needs. The Lough Erne Management Co- ordinating Committee and the Lough Erne Advisory Committee represent all interests and activities associated with Lough Erne, and so should be actively engaged in this review process. Flood Mitigation • Subject to sufficient funding being secured, a programme of road improvement works should be undertaken to include all the roads listed at Section 6 (paragraph 6.65) to reduce the likelihood of loss of key transport and access routes. • A feasibility study should be conducted to consider options for a flood alleviation scheme to isolate Derrychara Link, Enniskillen, from direct inundation by Lough Erne, so alleviating flood risk to the area. In the interim, containment measures should be put in place prior to the coming winter. Essential Services • A programme of work should be undertaken to improve the level of protection from flood risk to the Killyhevlin Water Treatment Works. 9 • All organisations involved in the response to and recovery from the November 2009 flooding in Fermanagh should maintain and further develop their emergency planning arrangements and networks to ensure they are as prepared as possible to deal with any future serious flooding which may occur. • All organisations responsible for the provision of essential services to the local community, especially emergency / health care, education and refuse collection must ensure that robust contingency arrangements are in place to protect the provision of these vital services to areas affected by serious flooding. Communication and Public Awareness • An education and public awareness programme should be developed to inform the local community, including school children, about flooding in the Fermanagh area and how to deal with it. This should specifically include information on the Erne System. Way Forward 1.10 Taskforce Ministers will present this report and associated recommendations at the earliest opportunity to the Northern Ireland Executive for its consideration. Relevant Departments and agencies will then be commissioned to take forward the recommendations agreed by the Executive. 10 2 I NTRODUCTION 2.1 In late October 2009 and for most of November the Erne catchment experienced unprecedented levels of rainfall, both in terms of quantity and duration. As the rain persisted it fell on what was already saturated ground, resulting in extensive flooding across Fermanagh. 2.2 In response to the impact which this flooding had on the people of Fermanagh, the Northern Ireland Executive agreed at its meeting on 3 December 2009 to establish a Flooding Taskforce to investigate the circumstances of the flooding. The Terms of Reference for the Taskforce were subsequently agreed in the following terms: “FLOODING TASKFORCE – TERMS OF REFERENCE PURPOSE The Flooding Taskforce, established at the request of the NI Executive, will investigate the Fermanagh flooding of November 2009 and consider what further action is required by the NI departments (and their sponsor bodies) to deal with the aftermath of the flooding and to minimise the impact of future flooding. The Taskforce will report its findings and make recommendations to the NI Executive. FORMAT & MEMBERSHIP The Taskforce will: • be convened on a task and finish basis; • produce an interim report by the end of February 2010; • include Ministerial representation as well as officials drawn from the relevant NI departments; and • be led by the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister. 11 The secretariat for the Taskforce will be provided by Civil Contingencies Policy Branch, OFMDFM. ACTIONS • To investigate the factors which contributed to the flooding, to include those of cross-border significance. • To arrange evidence gathering sessions involving a range of local stakeholders. • To consider how NI departments could assist in dealing with the aftermath. • To examine lessons learned in a cross-departmental context. • To identify longer term planning issues, including the development of a Flood Risk Management Plan for Fermanagh • To consider preparations for possible measures to minimise the impact of future flooding.” 2.3 The Taskforce is Chaired by the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister, and membership comprises of the Executive Ministers for Regional Development; Agriculture and Rural Development; the Environment; and Enterprise, Trade & Investment, as well as senior officials from key NI Departments and agencies. A full list of the Taskforce membership may be found at Annex 1. 12 3. B ACKGROUND 3.1 The flooding in Fermanagh during November 2009 affected most of the population of the county in some form or another. Some had to endure only minor inconveniences, but for many others the social, economic and environmental impacts were much more significant, both at individual and community level. The level of impact experienced was a consequence of an unprecedented level of rainfall during October and November 2009, coupled with the particular topography and demography of Fermanagh. 3.2 The bulk of the flooding occurred after 19 November 2009 owing to inundation from Lough Erne. However, there was also flooding in the Boho area from the 4 November 2009 which resulted from the inundation of the natural floodplain of the Sillees River. Fermanagh Profile 3.4 Fermanagh covers an area of 187,582 hectares, with a population of some 57,600, 13,600 of whom live in the county town of Enniskillen. The county has a population density of 31 persons per square kilometre, compared to 119 persons per square kilometre for Northern Ireland as a whole. Many of the residents therefore live in rural, often remote, locations. 3.5 Agriculture represents a key sector in the economic profile of the county, which also boasts a number of thriving businesses as well as a healthy retail sector bolstered in recent times by an influx of trade from across the border. 3.6 A major topographical feature of the region is that some 30% of Fermanagh is covered with lakes and waterways. The River Erne and associated loughs and channels are of particular significance in terms of drainage in the area and consequently were a key focus for the Taskforce. 13 The Erne System 3.7 The River Erne, which rises from Lough Gowna in County Cavan, flows through County Fermanagh to the sea at Ballyshannon in County Donegal. The river, which is some 100km long, drains an area of around 4,350km2, of which 1,850km2 is in Counties Fermanagh and Tyrone. 3.8 There are a large number of lakes in the catchment area upstream of Enniskillen. The largest is Upper Lough Erne which has a surface area of some 38km2. Water from the Upper Lough flows through the inter lough channel to Lower Lough Erne, which has a surface area of approximately 111km2. Sluice gates in the inter lough channel at Portora are used to ensure that water levels do not fall too low in the Upper Lough. The flow from the Lower Lough passes through the Belleek Channel to Cliff where the first of two hydro-electric power stations is located. This dam at Cliff controls the water levels in the Lower Lough. A second hydro-electric power station is located approximately 5km further downstream at Cathaleen’s Falls, more commonly known as Ballyshannon. 3.9 Control of the water level in the Erne System is undertaken by the Rivers Agency, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, in conjunction with the Electricity Supply Board in Ireland under the terms of an agreement made in 1950 when the River Erne was harnessed for hydroelectric power generation. 3.10 Each October, in preparation for the higher levels of rainfall during the autumn and winter periods, the responsible agencies attempt to draw the water level in both loughs down in order to maximise the storage capacity within the system. When the amount of water in the loughs is too great, it can be spilled at Cliff and then at Cathaleen’s Falls. However, where rain is persistent a situation can be reached where the inflow of water from the catchment into the loughs substantially 14 exceeds the amount that can be conveyed by the channels and passed through to the sea. Why the Flooding Occurred 3.11 Fermanagh experienced an unprecedented level of rainfall totalling 336.8mm over the period 17 October 2009 to 27 November 2009. To put this in context, the total rainfall for the month of November for the county was recorded at 280mm, against the previous record of 191mm (in 1939) 1 and the long term average for the month of 103.25mm. This level of rainfall over 41 days is well in excess of a 1 in 100 year rainfall event, which means that there is a 1% chance of such an event happening in any given year. Prior to this heavy rainfall, the lough was successfully drawn down to its minimum level in early October 2009 in order to maximise winter storage capacity – see paragraph 6.32. 3.12 However the heavy rain in mid to late October 2009 caused the ground in the catchment to become saturated by early November. This effectively meant that from early November all rain falling in the catchment area ran off into the rivers and loughs. 3.13 The persistent rainfall caused water levels in the Erne System to rise to the point where the recorded levels at Belleisle, Portora and Rosscor were the highest since the current regime was introduced in the 1950s. As the water levels in Lough Erne rose above the prescribed upper limits the volume of water exceeded that which could be conveyed by the channels to the sea. Consequently, extensive flooding occurred, particularly around the Upper Lough. The actions taken throughout this period by the agencies charged with managing the Erne system were in accordance with the legislation. 1 Data supplied by the Met Office 15 4. METHODOLOGY 4.1 The approach taken by the Taskforce to this initiative was dictated largely by the clear need to engage directly with the people of Fermanagh to hear at first hand about the impacts the flooding had at both individual and community levels. It was therefore agreed at the first meeting of the Taskforce in Enniskillen on 17 December 2009 that the process should be informed by a series of evidence gathering sessions to take place in Fermanagh, and that those sessions should be open to the widest possible range of local people, community representatives and organisations from the affected areas. 4.2 Accordingly, a total of six evidence gathering sessions took place during January 2010. In addition to two public sessions in Enniskillen and Lisnaskea, the Taskforce heard from local Fermanagh district councillors; the Ulster Farmers Union; the Northern Ireland Agriculture Producers’ Association; and representatives from the business and commercial sectors in the county, including the Fermanagh Economic Development Organisation. The evidence thus gathered was augmented by a substantial body of written evidence provided to the Taskforce during January 2010. 4.3 In addition, the Taskforce sought and received information from the Electricity Supply Board. To supplement this, OFMDFM officials visited the ESB power station at Cathaleen’s Falls, Ballyshannon on 9 February 2010 to learn at first hand about the operation of the power station and the impact of ESB’s operational requirements on the drainage of the Erne catchment and the wider management of the Erne system. The Taskforce also received evidence from Waterways Ireland on their perspective on the causes and effects of the November flooding. 4.4 The work of the Taskforce in considering the causes and impacts of the flooding was closely linked to and informed by the review conducted by 16 the Rivers Agency of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development - ‘Fermanagh Flooding of November 2009’, a summary of key outcomes of which is at Section 5. The full Rivers Agency report is annexed to this report at Annex 3. This review examined the effectiveness of the multi-agency response of stakeholder organisations to the flooding, which was central to managing the effects of the flooding and its impact on the community. In relation to that response it concluded that co-ordination and co-operation between the various responders had been sound. 4.5 The subsequent analysis of the evidence collated led to the identification of the range of impacts the flooding had on the local community. In addition, the Taskforce distilled a number of proposals from those directly affected as to how the impact of future flooding in the area might be lessened. These proposals, which fall into four main themes, were analysed in detail by the relevant government departments and agencies, to establish their viability and potential effectiveness to meet identified need. Consideration of these impacts and proposals is at Section 6, with Taskforce conclusions at Section 7. 4.6 The final stage in the process was the production of a Taskforce Report and its presentation to the NI Executive for their consideration of the Taskforce recommendations, as detailed at Section 8. 17 5. REVIEW OF THE FERMANAGH FLOODING BY THE RIVERS AGENCY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT 5.1 In addition to establishing a Flooding Taskforce, the Northern Ireland Executive also decided at its meeting on 3 December 2009 that the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development should carry out a review of the response provided by Rivers Agency (RA) and its partners to the flooding in Fermanagh. 5.2 Section 4 of this report has already alluded to the importance and relevance of the RA Review to the work of the Taskforce, not least as a source of expert evidence on the management of the Erne System. Specifically, the RA Review Report outlines how the water management system for Lough Erne was applied during the course of the November 2009 flooding. It examines the response made by the various flood response agencies, identifies lessons learned and makes recommendations on how the multi-agency response might be improved in the future. It also contains detailed statistics on water levels to illustrate the effect of the heavy rain and the response made by the managing agents to mitigate its effects on water levels in Lough Erne. 5.3 The recommendations of the Rivers Agency Review Report are as follows: Control of Water Levels • The operating regime, applied within the current legislation should be reviewed by Rivers Agency and ESB to investigate if there is any scope for improvement. 18 • The performance of the existing regime which has been in place since the 1950s should be reviewed. This will inform the need for a review of the current legislation. • Any further review of levels must take account of the environmental designation, particularly on the Upper Lough. The Upper Lough is a Special Protection Area (SPA) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The Habitats Directive, which is European legislation, applies to SPAs and SACs. The Upper Lough also has nine Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSIs) of which Belleisle, Trannish and Crom are arguably the three most important. The Upper Lough is also a RAMSAR site (a wetland site of international importance designated under the Ramsar Convention 1975). • Any review of levels must also take account of the navigational interests which involve Waterways Ireland, (the responsible authority for navigation within the Erne system). Water based recreation and tourism generates vital income in Fermanagh. Emergency Response • It is recommended that all organisations involved in the response to and recovery from the flooding in Fermanagh use the lessons learnt from the review to further develop their own emergency planning arrangements. Opportunity should also be taken to further develop contact arrangements. • A structured process should be established to carry out ‘desk top’ exercises every two to three years to ensure that agencies maintain contact and co-ordination arrangements between each other. • Facilities to obtain rainfall information for the whole catchment should be examined. 19 Government Response • Consideration should be given to establishing an agency to provide a strategic overview to the management of flooding in Northern Ireland, particularly in the medium to long term. This agency may also be responsible for ensuring that all agencies and organisations have adequate emergency arrangements and plans in place should a similar flooding event occur in the future as will be required by the Floods Directive within Flood Risk Management Plans. • Planning Policies restricting developments in the floodplain should be strictly applied to help eliminate the risk of property flooding should a similar event occur in the future. Improvement Works • Consideration should be given to examining the viability of raising critical roads. • Rivers Agency and Roads Service should examine whether joint improvements can be made to the Derrychara Link area. Awareness • Rivers Agency, in conjunction with ESB, should draw up a short brochure explaining how the Erne system works and this should be distributed to schools in Fermanagh. Rivers Agency should also examine opportunities to add to previous presentations they have given on the Erne system to improve public awareness. The RA Review Report, the terms of which were agreed in February 2010, is reproduced in full at Annex 3 of this Taskforce Report. 20 6. TASKFORCE FINDINGS IMPACTS OF THE FLOODING 6.1 The November 2009 flooding in Fermanagh occurred against a backdrop over the last two or three years of more frequent and more severe flooding incidents both locally and across the region than had previously been the norm. Flooding events in Belfast in 2007, and more widely in August 2008, led to the evacuation of large numbers of people from their homes, with significant damage to property, services and infrastructure. While evacuation and property damage of this magnitude was not a feature of the 2009 Fermanagh flooding, it nonetheless had a profound and lasting impact on the people of the county both at individual and community level. The true cost of the floods may never be accurately determined, but it is clear that it was significant. 6.2 It was also clear to the Taskforce that despite the co-ordinated response by various agencies the impacts could have been very much worse had it not been for the resilience of the local people, their willingness to help themselves, help one another, and to make the best of what was a very difficult situation for many. 6.3 For these reasons, it is important both to acknowledge and to record the types of difficulties and concerns faced at this time, as well as the impact that repeated flooding incidents of this nature might have on the maintenance and future development of small rural, often isolated communities in the county, the local economy, and the image and viability of Fermanagh as a tourist destination. This section of the report therefore records the evidence presented to the Taskforce by local people about the problems they encountered, which provided the information base to inform and help determine the nature and extent of remedial work and arrangements required to help avoid or to mitigate the effects of future flooding in the area. 21 6.4 The Taskforce heard from a broad spectrum of individuals and community representatives, and it was clear from the evidence provided that the flooding impacted on many aspects of life in the county. 6.5 The main consequence of the November flooding however was the loss of some key roads infrastructure which, given the topography of the area, had a disproportionate effect on the community. This resulted in a wide variety of impacts including isolation of families; significant problems for people commuting to work and taking children to school; problems for care and emergency workers accessing vulnerable people; access difficulties for farmers in tending their livestock; damage to agricultural land; and economic losses to the business and commerce sectors arising from increased operating costs and lost trade. Figure 1. A number of key roads were flooded. 6.6 The prolonged duration of these impacts undoubtedly put an additional strain on those directly affected. Many of those who gave evidence mentioned the stress they had been under while dealing with the 22 consequences of the flooding and the resultant hardship both in economic and social terms that had been caused. Social / Welfare Impacts Access 6.7 A number of homes, mainly but not exclusively around the shores of Upper Lough Erne, were entirely cut off by the flood water. Access to these properties was possible only by tractor or boat, which carried its own inherent dangers as it became increasingly difficult to determine the path of lanes and roads when the flood waters rose. This caused significant disruption to normal life for those involved. Figure 2. Homes cut off by flood water. 6.8 It was reported that some entire families had to leave their homes for a period of time, while others were separated with some family members remaining behind in the home. There were other instances cited of 23 individuals with care responsibilities for elderly relatives living nearby being unable to make the necessary journey due to the height of the flood waters. Figure 3. Significant areas of countryside flooded. 6.9 Some of those in the affected areas mentioned that they had to leave their cars some distance from their homes at the edge of the flood waters, and before going to work each morning had to wade through the flood, change their clothes at the car before driving to work, and then repeat the process on the journey home. Schools 6.10 Families also detailed the difficulties faced in taking children to nursery groups and schools. While geographically separated from Lough Erne, the hazards of having to take young children through flood water were mentioned in particular by parents of children from Killyhommon Primary School in Boho. Other problems encountered in this area concerned children being subjected to long detours before reaching the 24 school. In the case of the Moat Primary School, Lisnaskea, a temporary school was established in the church hall in Teemore to facilitate children who would otherwise have had to travel from Teemore to Lisnaskea via a long detour considered too arduous for such young children to make. The impact of this disruption to the school system was all the more acute in light of the school transfer tests taking place during November. Care of the Vulnerable 6.11 There was real concern expressed about the difficulties experienced by care workers accessing the homes of the vulnerable and the elderly who relied on their assistance on a daily basis. Examples were given of patients who, because of difficulties with the provision of their care, had to be moved to alternative locations away from their familiar surroundings. In one instance, this was achieved only with the most extreme difficulty. In a similar vein, residents in rural locations expressed concern about the ability of the emergency services to access their homes had an emergency situation arisen during the flooding. Animal Welfare 6.12 Animal welfare concerns were raised by members of the farming community who had experienced real and prolonged difficulties providing feedstuffs and dealing with sick animals in areas cut off by flood water. In one case, difficulties in accessing stock to provide veterinary care were evident. Public Health 6.13 The effects of the flooding and its duration raised some public health concerns. Residents in some locations reported that no refuse collections were made by Fermanagh District Council during the 25 flooding period. Farmers were concerned about delays in the collection of dead stock due to the difficulties in collection lorries gaining access to farms. Those from more built-up areas were concerned about contamination of the flood water with sewage, given that local people had no option but to wade through this on a regular basis. 6.14 In rural areas, some slurry tanks were reported to have become flooded, resulting in slurry mixing with the flood water. Rural Communities 6.15 It was contended that the flooding, while worse than usual in November, was something that occurred in Fermanagh on a fairly frequent basis. Residents of the village of Boho, some six miles from Lough Erne, raised concerns with the Taskforce about the long term impact this could have on the viability of this small rural community. 6.16 The Taskforce heard evidence that both the nursery facility and the primary school in Boho were accessible only with extreme difficulty for a large part of November. Functions in the community centre also had to be cancelled, which represented a significant loss of revenue for the centre. In all three cases, concerns were expressed that if their facilities developed a reputation for being difficult to access, and were therefore unreliable, for example in terms of being able to provide an appropriate level of schooling in the case of the Killyhommon Primary School, then the public might be tempted to look elsewhere for school placements or community activities. If this were to happen, the damage to the community would be severe and lasting. These concerns are likely to be reflected in other parts of the county. 26 Economic Impacts 6.17 The significant access and travel problems experienced inevitably had an economic impact for those affected, and the evidence provided by all sectors bore this assertion out. Farming Sector 6.18 The Taskforce heard evidence from farmers that animals that would normally have been grazing outside had had to be housed early, so depleting winter feed stocks which then had to be replaced at extra cost to the farmer. Loss of revenue was reported from the inability of milk tankers to get through the flood waters to make collections from a dairy farm, and consequently milk output was lost. There were also concerns expressed about potentially reduced productivity of summer grassland as a result of land being under water for a significant period of time. Figure 4. Access issues for farmers. 27 Commerce and Business Sectors 6.19 The commercial sector reported significant loss of trade due to reduced footfall in Enniskillen and in surrounding towns such as Lisnaskea, coupled with a concern that once customers had by necessity taken their custom elsewhere they would not return. The reduction in the number of shoppers was attributed to a variety of causes, including the loss of key transport routes preventing people travelling to the usual shopping destinations, the (associated) severe traffic congestion in Enniskillen, and a widespread public perception that shops in the areas worst affected by the flooding would not be open. It was felt by some shop keepers that this perception may have been exacerbated by media coverage that was considered by some to have overstated the actual problems in the area. Traders at Derrychara Link Road reported an average loss of turnover in the region of 60 - 90% as a consequence of customers not being able to gain access to their premises. They also held the view that ‘roads closed’ signage in the vicinity of their retail premises gave the false impression to potential customers that their businesses were closed due to the flooding. Figure 5. Flooding at Derrychara Link 28 6.20 There were significant concerns expressed about extra costs incurred by the business sector due to increased travel to work time for staff – some workers were forced to undertake detours of approximately twenty miles. The taskforce heard that inward and outward deliveries from business premises were similarly disrupted, with lengthy detours adding significantly to fuel costs. On occasions, deliveries had had to be aborted due to flood water levels. It was pointed out to the Taskforce that the main route to Belfast and Larne via Lisnaskea remained passable to large lorries, but had the situation worsened all this heavy goods traffic would have had to pass through Enniskillen, adding further to the already severe congestion and exacerbating losses to this sector from missed delivery targets. Figure 6. Challenges faced by local traffic. 6.21 It was estimated by representatives of the business and commerce sector that on average the retail sector lost sales of around 15-20%; 29 the distribution sector some 30%; the hospitality sector (which was particularly affected by reduced cross-border trade) 35-50%; and wholesalers around 20-25%. It was reported that while most locally manufactured product was successfully delivered the real issue for the manufacturing sector was higher costs, with a notable increase in labour and fuel costs in particular. Reputational Damage 6.22 Evidence provided to the Taskforce also identified the reputational damage that flooding events such as these can have on the Fermanagh area especially if, as has been the case in the last two to three years in the Boho area, they occur on a regular basis. It was also asserted that local entrepreneurs and inward investment projects alike could potentially be deterred from establishing in Fermanagh if it were to become known as an area that can at times be difficult to access, or that is a relatively expensive area from which to do business. 6.23 Reputational damage is also a potentially significant problem for the thriving local tourism industry, a key element of the economy in Fermanagh worth some £33million per annum (2008). Facilities such as the Share Centre near Lisnaskea suffered considerably during the floods, both in terms of access to the site and the damage to buildings and equipment by the flood waters. Although the flooding did not take place during the shoulder or peak tourism periods, the Taskforce was informed that cancelled bookings and/or loss of facilities have the potential to impact on business viability in the longer term. ISSUES RAISED 6.24 In addition to providing a detailed insight into the impacts and consequences of the flooding from the perspective of those directly affected, the evidence sessions also gave local people the opportunity to make suggestions regarding their perceptions of the causes of the 30 flooding and potential improvement works which they felt would mitigate the impact of future flooding. 6.25 The suggestions thus made centred around four main themes, namely: ¾ Management of the Erne System; ¾ Flood Mitigation; ¾ Essential Services; and ¾ Communication and Public Awareness Each of these four themes is considered in detail below. Management of the Erne System 6.26 There was a general belief evident among many of those giving evidence to the Taskforce that the management of the Lough Erne system should be pursued more proactively by the relevant agencies, and that the statutory provisions of the Erne Drainage and Development Act (Northern Ireland) 1950 which, inter alia, governs the levels of the Lough, should be reviewed to ensure that they remained relevant and adequate for current needs. More specifically, representatives of the farming community requested that consideration be given to lowering the levels of the Lough by 600mm (2 feet). 6.27 The power generation activities of the Electricity Supply Board at the Ballyshannon and Cliff hydroelectric power stations were widely queried in terms of any detrimental impact they may have on the quick and efficient drainage of the Erne System. 6.28 Queries were also raised about the silting up of the Lough and the rivers flowing into it, including the Finn, Sillees and Colebrooke, and 31 there was a consensus that more dredging was required to improve drainage and alleviate flood risk from Lough Erne. Coupled with this however, there was a widely expressed perception that any such river maintenance would be hampered by environmental considerations. 6.29 Given these concerns, it is important that there is a clear understanding of the operating regime for Lough Erne, how it is implemented, and by whom. The following section provides that information, thereby addressing the issues raised by local people in this regard during the evidence gathering sessions. The Erne System and Operating Regime 6.30 The statutory arrangements for the operation of the Erne System are set out in ‘The Erne Drainage and Development Act (Northern Ireland) 1950‘. This legislation prescribed higher and lower water levels for the loughs; trigger levels for control; and the extensive works required to facilitate the Erne Summer Relief Scheme to improve drainage in the area and give effect to the lowering of lough levels. 6.31 The works carried out in the 1950s entailed major improvements to the inter-lough and Belleek channels and the construction of new dams and hydro power stations at Cliff and Ballyshannon in County Donegal. A new control structure was also constructed on the inter-lough channel at Portora in Enniskillen, primarily to prevent the upper lough draining down under the improved drainage regime. Each element of the scheme was designed to accommodate sufficient flow so that, combined with the storage in the system, flooding would occur only during extreme rainfall events. Such events would have to be of significant duration and would almost certainly be restricted to winter when the impact on crops or livestock would be minimal. 32 6.32 In terms of lough management, the statutory upper limit for the Lower Lough is that it should not exceed 46.33 metres (152 feet) above Ordnance Datum (OD) Poolbeg, Dublin 1. There is no statutory upper limit for the Upper Lough but the legislation states that the water level should not, if reasonably preventable, exceed 46.94 metres (154 feet) above OD Poolbeg in summer and 47.24 metres (155 feet) above OD Poolbeg in winter. 6.33 The Rivers Agency and the Electricity Supply Board endeavour to control the loughs within operational bands that have been set within the wider legislative limits. Water levels are monitored daily and regular contact is maintained between the Electricity Supply Board and Rivers Agency. The operating regime adhered to has been agreed with various interest groups since the 1950s. Essentially, water levels are maintained at a level during the summer months to take account of boating interests - these water levels are then lowered in October to maximise storage prior to autumn/winter when rainfall is generally greater. It is important to note that it is not always possible to draw down the lough levels in October as this is dependent on rainfall, although the minimum level (that is to say the statutory level in the Upper Lough and the operational level in the Lower Lough) was achieved in October 2009. 6.34 The outflow from the system is controlled at Cliff where some 230 m3/s can be passed through the turbines. Additional flow of 100m3/s can be passed through spillways which act as a safety valve and are designed to accommodate a 1 in 10,000 year event ie the structure at Cliff (and Cathaleen’s Falls) is capable of passing greater flows than can actually be delivered by the channels. 6.35 Flow in the Belleek channel is determined by the head differential between the lower lough and the water level immediately upstream of 1 To convert Poolbeg OD to Belfast OD deduct 2.82 metres (9.25 feet). 33 the dam at Cliff. The water level at Cliff is drawn down to the lowest possible level when it is required to maximise flows in the outfall channel. When the lower lough is in the low to medium range the flow produced in the channel can be accommodated through the turbines. The Act defines trigger levels for spilling at Cliff and Cathaleen’s Falls - the legislative trigger level is reached when the lower lough is within six inches of its upper statutory limit and flow in the channel has significantly exceeded the capacity of the turbines. Spilling could occur earlier but this would have little impact on peak lough levels during extreme events. Flow in the Belleek channel increases as the head differential between the lower lough and Cliff increases. 6.36 The capacity of the channels, namely the inter lough channel and the Belleek Channel, is the major restricting factor in the discharge of water from the Erne System. Both have capacities that accommodate sufficient flow under normal circumstances and this, combined with the storage in the lough system, means that significant flooding occurs only in extreme circumstances. Works to increase the capacities of the channels would cost tens of millions of pounds and would not be economically or environmentally viable. 6.37 In summary the design capacities of the power stations at Cliff and Cathaleen’s Falls coupled with the spillage capacities at the dams are such that they can effectively disperse the maximum amount of water that can be conveyed to them through the Belleek Channel. In practice, during the November flooding some 385m3/s were actually being discharged from the system due to the unprecedented head differential across the system. 6.38 It is worth noting that had the rainfall event of October and November 2009 occurred prior to the current regime being in place, lough levels would have reached even higher levels. 34 Operation of the Erne System in October – November 2009 6.39 The operation of the Lough Erne system during October and November 2009 is reported in detail in the Rivers Agency Report annexed to this report, but it is important to outline here the chain of events which occurred during that period, and what actions were taken to alleviate the effects of the flood waters at each step. 6.40 Higher minimum lough levels are maintained during the summer months to facilitate navigation and other interests. Levels are reduced to the lowest achievable level from 1 October to allow for winter storage. While this is not always possible due to autumn rainfall patterns, it was achieved in October 2009 because the first half of the month was virtually dry. 6.41 The overall rainfall in Fermanagh during October was only 1 % higher than the Long Term Average for that month. However, it is important to note that the bulk of the rainfall, some 95%, occurred after 16 October 2009. 6.42 From 1 October – 17 October 2009, which was the period just prior to the persistent rainfall, lough levels were managed by opening the gates at Portora fully from 1 October to assist in drawing down the Upper Lough level to maximise winter storage. The gates were then closed between 7 and 14 October to maintain the Upper Lough above the minimum prescribed level and were then gradually opened again from 14 October to control flows between the loughs. 6.43 From 18 October to 4 November 2009, which was a period of persistent rain, the inflow to the Erne System exceeded the outflow and the water levels in both loughs continued to rise. The gates at Portora were fully opened on 25 October. 35 6.44 On 4 November both loughs were below the targeted winter levels and no flooding occurred other than from the Sillees River at Boho, which was not caused by rising lough levels. 6.45 As conditions for spilling from the lough were reached on 5 November 2009 ESB in consultation with Rivers Agency commenced spilling at Cliff from that date. With the gates at Portora open and spillage and generation of power being undertaken to maximise possible outflow, this had the desired effect of slowing down the rise of the water level in the Upper Lough. Initially the spilling caused the levels in the Lower Lough to reduce but then the rainfall intensified from the 14 November with some 53.2mm recorded at Portora in the following five days. Consequently the level of the Lower Lough started to rise again and exceeded its upper limit on 19 November 2009 before peaking some 0.4m above this level on 27 November 2009. 6.46 The initial lowering of the Lower Lough eventually stabilised the level in the Upper Lough just below the winter limit but the increase in intensity of rainfall from 14 November caused the level in the Upper Lough to rise sharply, eventually peaking on 26 November (some 1.03m above the prescribed limit). 6.47 This sharp and exceptional rise in levels resulted in flooding, with Roads Service reports indicating the occurrence of road flooding mainly around the Upper Lough and the Boho area from 18 November 2009. 6.48 From 27 November 2009 both the Upper and Lower Lough levels started to fall. Reduction of Water Levels 6.49 The rationale for the Erne System and the current operating regime is that it provides a suitable level of flood protection while considering and 36 accommodating the widespread interests across the Fermanagh community from farming to the water-based tourism industry. It also takes into account the need to prevent exposure of building foundations in Enniskillen. 6.50 Waterways Ireland (WI) is the navigation authority with the statutory function to manage the navigation for the Upper Lough, Inter-lock Channel and Lower Lough and is opposed to lowering of the summer operational level of Lough Erne. Advice from WI indicates that any significant lowering of water levels would have a severe impact on facilities both public and private, and would in particular have a catastrophic effect on boating related tourism activities with some 5,000 boats on Lough Erne and a further 7,000 on linked waterways. Reduced recreational activity would cause economic decline in some areas. 6.51 WI has assessed that the main impacts of lowering Lough levels would be: • the widespread fragmentation and isolation of navigational infrastructure located around the mainland shore and on some islands, as a result of inadequate depths for navigation in critical areas; • the need for dredging works in an environmentally sensitive area to re-establish connectivity between channels which would introduce significant financial demands. Where the extent of work required is prohibitive, sections of the navigation may have to be abandoned and access to the islands on the Upper Lough could be severely restricted; • the requirement to modify numerous public and private navigational facilities (marinas, boat hire bases, slipways, jetties) developed 37 since the Shannon – Erne Waterway was opened as the water-line retreats. Public and private slipways on the Erne System, the Woodford River (Shannon Erne Waterway) up to Lock 1 and on the River Erne (and on any other tributaries that may have such services) would be affected; • changes to the navigation of the River Erne. The lowering of the water level would create additional shallow areas which would require navigation markers and possibly relocation of the existing markers. Foalies Cut, which was opened at considerable expense in the 1990’s would be affected and would have to be re-excavated or abandoned. Abandonment would mean that boats would have to travel around by Crom to travel from the River Erne and Quivvy Waters to the Shannon – Erne Waterway. This detour would also inconvenience future users of the Ulster Canal link to Clones; • the lock at Enniskillen would require major works to ensure that navigation is maintained to existing depths; • there would be a direct impact on the Shannon-Erne Waterway up to Lock 1 which is partially in Fermanagh and Cavan. The channel would become shallower and dredging would therefore probably be required up to Lock 1. The lock itself would be impacted as lowering the water level in the lough would decrease the depth over the lower sill and floor of the lock chamber - the navigation criteria for this important link waterway would thus be affected. The lock would have to be deepened to maintain the existing draft criteria; • the public facilities by WI at Aghalane (jetty, slipway) would be impacted and the slipway there would have to be modified. The ground at the Aghalane facility is already very weak and the banks of the river would be under threat at lower levels. This could require major civil engineering works to stabilise the banks and 38 excavate the bed in difficult conditions and would add further to the maintenance requirement in the future; and • the shallower depths of the loughs and rivers would lead to increased aquatic weed growth which would restrict navigation and create a significant maintenance burden in an environmentally sensitive area. 6.52 The view that any reduction to the statutory levels would have a detrimental effect on boating and water-related tourism was also expressed by representatives of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland at the public evidence session on 11 January 2010. 6.53 Furthermore, Inland Fisheries of the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure has advised that any significant lowering of levels could have a detrimental impact on fish stocks and angling tourism, as low water levels are generally much more detrimental to fish survival than high levels. In addition the viability of existing fishing jetties would also be compromised. 6.54 Rivers Agency has advised that it would be possible to draw Lough levels down towards the lower statutory limits in the summer. This would provide additional storage throughout the summer and would increase the probability of having maximum storage available for the winter period. However, this would increase the risk of extremely low water levels should drought conditions arise, would severely damage the water based leisure and tourism in the terms described above, and would have a detrimental impact on the natural environment, the importance of which has been recognised by environmental designations around the Lough. Alternatively, the Agency has advised that consideration could be given to bringing the winter drawdown forward to improve the chances of achieving maximum storage. 39 6.55 The Lough Erne Management Co-ordinating Committee is chaired by Fermanagh District Council and comprises representatives from government departments and public bodies with responsibilities and interests in Lough Erne. The Lough Erne Advisory Committee comprises representatives from a broad spectrum of user groups. These two committees represent all interests and activities associated with Lough Erne, and they should be actively engaged in any consideration of change to water level management of the Erne system. Watercourse Maintenance and Dredging 6.56 The Rivers Agency inspects the Lough system and conducts essential maintenance required to ensure free flow in accordance with the arrangements set out in the Rivers Agency Watercourse Maintenance Manual. The Agency also has an established maintenance cycle in place for the Finn, the Sillees and the Colebrooke rivers, where desilting is undertaken as required to facilitate drainage. The water storage capacity between the upper and lower levels in the Lough system is not affected by siltation, as any water displaced by siltation or infilling during dry conditions would simply flow out of the Lough at its outlet. The volume of storage in the Lough refers to the capacity to hold water above the normal water level. Inflows in the Erne during wet spells can greatly exceed the possible outflow, the net short term result of which is that water levels will rise and the additional volume of water will be stored in the Lough until the rain stops, the inflow reduces to match outflow and the Lough returns to its normal dry weather level. 6.57 Much of the Lough, particularly the Upper Lough, is covered by natural conservation designations, either as Natura 2000 Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) or Special Protection Areas (SPAs) under the EU Habitats Directive, and Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSIs) under the Environment Order. It is important that all maintenance carried out takes account of these designations. In addition, flood 40 alleviation work could have the ecological impact of reducing fish stocks, and could detrimentally affect angling tourism. Of particular concern would be dredging of rivers that support trout spawning and of lake margins that support pike and coarse fish spawning. 6.58 Given the varied ecological and environmental impacts Rivers Agency has an in-house conservation team which provides advice on these aspects of its routine maintenance programme. In addition, the Rivers Agency consults the NI Environment Agency on the annual planned maintenance programme. Because of this close liaison between the two agencies and adherence to the legislative requirements, the NI Environment Agency has not turned down any request from Rivers Agency in relation to river / lough maintenance to reduce flood risk in the past two years. In addition, Rivers Agency in consultation with the NI Environment Agency has drawn up eight agreements in relation to ten watercourses within the Lough Erne catchment area. The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure is also consulted by Rivers Agency regarding possible impact on fish stocks. 6.59 Rivers Agency is not responsible for dredging works for navigation purposes, which now rests with Waterways Ireland. Waterways Ireland has confirmed that since it was established in 2000 it has not carried out any dredging works on the Erne system but that some isolated spots may require attention in the future to remove silt from the navigation channel and restore navigation depth. Flood Mitigation 6.60 As highlighted earlier in this report, the main impact of the November 2009 flooding was the loss of critical transport routes as a consequence of flooded roads and the resultant severe congestion in Enniskillen as traffic converged on the town as other routes became impassable. Many of those giving evidence called for significant improvements to the roads infrastructure to ensure that a number of 41 key routes were kept open and passable. 6.61 T he frequency of flooding in Fermanagh was also mentioned by some of those giving evidence. In particular, the residents of Boho stated their strongly held view that the Sillees River should be diverted via Bunahone and Churchill into Lough Erne in an attempt to mitigate the repeated flooding in the area. In a similar vein the traders at Derrychara Link Road, Enniskillen, suggested that a dyke be erected to protect the road from the frequent inundation from Lough Erne. Roads Infrastructure 6.62 Over the course of the last ten years the Department for Regional Development Roads Service has invested in excess of £200,000 in managing flood risk in various areas of Fermanagh. In addition, in 2007 the agency contributed £180,000 to a £540,000 scheme (the remainder was privately funded) to provide piled foundations for the roundabout at Erneside Shopping Centre, Enniskillen to prevent progressive settlement and reduce flood risk. 6.63 Some of the roads identified during the evidence gathering were actually raised previously in an attempt to alleviate flooding. However, there has been a tendency for the roads to sink back down to the original level again as a consequence of poor underlying ground conditions. For example, the Samsonagh Road has been raised on three occasions in the last 15 years, most recently in 2009. In cases such as this the additional weight of the material used to raise the road accelerates future settlement. This is not always the case however - the road at Cloghane Bridge for example was raised in around 2000 and has remained at its elevated level without subsequent problems. 6.64 Following the November 2009 flooding Roads Service carried out an assessment of the merits of raising the various flood affected roads in the area, including a comparison of the impact of such works so that in 42 the event of specific additional funding being made available it can be targeted at those projects that would yield most benefit. In the absence of such funding, Roads Service has stressed that it cannot justify diverting existing limited roads funding to elevate roads that are vulnerable to flooding for a few days in the year but are otherwise in reasonable condition, at the expense of other roads that are in poor condition for 12 months in the year. 6.65 The assessment by Roads Service was based on a number of factors – the cost of associated works; ground conditions; traffic volumes using the road and inconvenience when closed. In the event of funding being made available to alleviate hardship resulting from a similar flooding event in the future, this prioritisation may be used as a guide to identify those roads where the greatest benefit may be derived. The schemes regarded by Roads Service as higher priority based on the above factors are: 1. B127 New Bridge Road at Share Centre This road carries approximately 3,000 vehicles per day and is a strategic east-west link across Upper Lough Erne. It is used by many businesses in the area and it is important that in the event of a similar flood event such disruption should not be experienced. 2. Quay Pass at Erneside / Derrychara This road leading to the Erneside area of Enniskillen is a major link for retail shoppers and if closed can quickly cause gridlock across the town. This is a concern for emergency services and results in a loss of business trade. In November 2009 it was necessary to create a temporary causeway to raise the road above the level of the flood water when it became clear that pumping operations would eventually fail. It is proposed that the final surfacing should be established at this 43 level, raising footpaths and incorporating measures to prevent flood inundation in a similar flood event. 3. B533 Wattlebridge Road at Derrykerrib This is a major cross border arterial route for south Fermanagh, carrying approximately 5,000 vehicles per day. It is also an east – west link of particular importance to business traffic and cross-border shoppers. It is proposed to raise the road sufficiently to prevent a recurrence of the problems encountered in November 2009. 4. C436 Inishmore Road This is also a key link road across the River Erne and used by many commuters. Its closure, especially when other river crossings must also be closed, causes major disruption to many road users. It is proposed to have this short section of road elevated to prevent a recurrence. 5. B36 Monaghan Road, Roslea This road frequently floods at a location close to the entrance into Springdale Estate, as a result of water levels in the River Finn. The only convenient diversion route is by unsuitable minor roads which causes difficulty for road users. 6. Derrychara Link Road This road was severely flooded during this period causing severe disruption for those businesses located on the road. It also caused considerable disruption to school transport services where access to regular bus embarkation points was prevented. The relocation of these services also adversely impacted on traffic around Enniskillen. In 2005 Derrychara Link Road was raised by up to 450mm - to a level exceeding previous flood levels. Unfortunately the flood of 2009 significantly exceeded all previous floods and resulted in the road being impassable for several weeks. The road is supported on a former lake bed so ground conditions along the road are exceedingly poor, with the result that adding additional weight is not considered a good use of 44 funds. The estimated cost of piling the road is in excess of £1m, and would not be cost effective. It may be feasible to isolate the Derrychara / Erneside area from Lough Erne in the event of a repeat flood event to prevent flood inundation of the area. A feasibility study of this option by Rivers Agency and Roads Service is proposed for 2011. In the meantime, some containment measures are proposed prior to winter 2010. 7. The Sillees River (Boho Area) The community of Boho, situated on the flood plain of the Sillees River, is in a different situation to the other flooding locations. While the 2009 flood on the Erne system was a one in a hundred year event, the Sillees River comes into flood most years - often on more than one occasion. The flooding of surrounding roads has caused major disruption, including the temporary closure of the local Primary School. Some of the roads have previously been raised at locations prone to flooding and have been successful, while others quickly settle back to their ‘normal’ level. The Samsonagh Road has been raised on three occasions in the last 15 years, most recently in 2009. It has always been recognised that it was not feasible to raise the road sufficiently to remain clear of all floods, such is the swell of the river at this point. The works have however greatly reduced the number of days the road proved impassable. It is not considered feasible to raise the Samsonagh Road any further at this stage. However, it is proposed to raise two sections of the Lisdead Road and also the Crott Road and the Drumanure Road, which are the main feeder roads to Killyhommen Primary School. 8. The Finn River (Newtownbutler Area) The Finn River is also prone to come into flood most winters, affecting a number of roads in the border region south of Newtownbutler. In 45 2009 as many as nine sections of public road were under water, causing considerable hardship for the residents. It is proposed to raise a number of the following roads where the greatest inconvenience was experienced: Cloncallick Road at Farmhill Cloncallick Road at Keelaghy Carra Road at Clonfad Teer Road at Teer Teer Road at Clonrye Derrykerrib Road near Derrykerrib Bridge Annies Bridge Road near the bridge Clonelty Road at Leitrim Clonkee Road at Cavanagh Drumboghanagh Road at Drumboghanagh Drumcrin Road at Clonshannagh. 9. Rossmacaffry Road Although not a ‘through-road’ the Rossmacaffry Road serves approximately 12 families and several farms/businesses. During the 2009 floods this road was flooded at three locations. The first two locations were relatively shallow (approx 450mm) over a short length but disrupted a large number of people. The third location was flooded over 1 metre deep over a longer distance but inconvenienced fewer people. It is proposed to raise the level of the road at the first two locations, but given the length and depth of road affected it is not cost effective to raise the road at the third location. However, it is proposed to put in place some measures to ease the inconvenience to users of this section of the road in the event of any future flooding. Specifically, it is proposed to create an earthen bund between the road and the river where it runs close to the road to prevent the type of ‘cross current’ that 46 was experienced during this flood. It is also proposed to plant a row of trees along the verge at this location to serve as road markers. 10. Other roads The following roads were also affected by flooding and will be considered for treatment, subject to the availability of funding: C448 Glennashaaver Road at Churchill C431 Teemore Road at Derrymacausey U9408 Kinmore Road U9247 Innishrooske Road U9445 Rossmacole Road U8530 Drumanure Road B81 Caldrum Road U9249 Geaglum Road U8183 Graffy Road U9136 Ballyhoe Road 6.66 Traffic congestion in Enniskillen itself was greatly exacerbated by the loss of key transport routes during the November flooding and so there were calls during the evidence sessions for the construction of a southern by-pass for Enniskillen to be completed by 2014. A proposal for a southern by-pass road is included in the Department for Regional Development’s Investment Delivery Plan for Roads 2008-2018 with construction envisaged in the 2014 to 2018 timeframe. The route selection process is currently underway and it is intended that the Preferred Corridor for the proposed Southern By-Pass will be announced later this year. Drainage Infrastructure 6.67 The Rivers Agency, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, has invested significantly in major flood alleviation and drainage infrastructure schemes in the Fermanagh area. Examples include: 47 • the Maguiresbridge Flood Alleviation Scheme (2001/02) - cost £1.3 million; • the Enniskillen, Drumgay Lake Drain (2004/05) - cost £450k; • the Enniskillen, Killynure Lough Drain (2007/08) - cost £3 million. 6.68 In addition, approximately £1 million is spent annually on the maintenance of assets, the regulation of watercourses and the provision of advice to reduce flooding risk in Fermanagh. 6.69 The frequent flooding at Boho is a result of the Sillees River going out of bank. The Sillees River rises in the hills north west of Derrygonnelly and flows for the most part through a relatively flat valley to discharge into the River Erne a short distance from Enniskillen. The river catchment is a naturally scenic area. The upper few kilometres of the river have a good hydraulic gradient but there is a stretch of the river about 6 kilometres long with a very slack gradient (estimated at 1:6000). This causes a slow flow of river waters with the surrounding land becoming inundated with floodwater on a regular basis and the consequent problems of roads becoming impassable for a number of days/weeks. The gradient over the final few kilometres of the river is quite good and consequently the level of the Erne System has a minimal effect on the rate of discharge. 6.70 The recurring flooding in the area is caused by a prolonged period of rain or an intense short duration storm coinciding with already high water levels. The frequency of these periods of flooding causes serious disruption to the local community. Rivers Agency previously conducted a feasibility study to investigate the potential to relieve the flooding difficulties in the Boho area associated with the Sillees River. Solutions to upgrade the watercourse and to divert headwaters into the Lower Lough Erne were examined. It was concluded however that this solution was not viable as the works involved would require extensive 48 tunnelling in an area of porous limestone geology with costs in the region of £6-10 million. However, as detailed at paragraph 6.65 it is possible that works to the roads infrastructure in the Boho area could be conducted to mitigate the impact of flooding in the area. 6.71 More widely, the Taskforce notes that Fermanagh is part of the North Western River Basin District, and a Flood Risk Management Plan will be developed for the entire River Basin District (RBD). As this is also one of our two International RBDs this work will involve cross-border co-ordination. It is envisaged that a sub-plan will be developed for Fermanagh in the longer term. Essential Services 6.72 There was considerable concern expressed by those who gave evidence about the difficulties in ensuring emergency / health and care services for vulnerable people; continued education provision for local children; postal deliveries; and other essential services from locations isolated by the flooding. Questions were asked about how the responsible authorities would ensure the continued provision of such services during times of severe flooding. In light of the problems with service delivery, some residents and traders have requested a rebate of their rates for the period of the flooding. 6.73 In addition, there were calls for remedial action to be taken in respect of the resilience of the Killyhevlin Water Treatment Works. This arose from fears that the Treatment Works was almost overwhelmed by the flooding and had this happened much of Enniskillen would have been without drinking water. 6.74 Poor mobile phone coverage in rural areas was also mentioned in terms of the safety of people necessarily travelling through the floods 49 becoming stranded but unable to call for assistance due to poor phone reception. Emergency Services and Care of the Vulnerable 6.75 The NI Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) has contingency plans in place for major flood events. All operational personnel have received training in Level 1 Water Rescue Response and all front-line pumping appliances carry water rescue equipment for initial response to stabilise and/or rescue persons in distress. In addition, 48 personnel have received specialist training to perform swift-water rescue operations across NI in the event of flood emergencies. 6.76 The NIFRS also has a Specialist Rescue Team, acknowledged as one of the premier specialist teams in Europe, and this team is capable of performing high risk search operations and water rescue in all conditions. This team is equipped with a range of water rescue boats, rescue sleds and water rescue equipment in addition to high-risk search equipment including night vision goggles, thermal imaging search cameras and specialist GIS and mapping equipment. 6.77 The NIFRS was actively involved during the November 2009 flooding. Members of the Specialist Rescue Team (full-time firefighters from Belfast) were deployed to Fermanagh to stand-by in Lisnaskea Fire Station for 6 days. During their time in Fermanagh they carried out a number of reconnaissance and high-risk search operations. In addition, all the fire stations in Fermanagh were called out to assist with public safety, pumping out flooded property and generally providing a reassuring presence in the areas worst affected. 6.78 The NI Ambulance Service (NIAS) deployed 4x4 vehicles to the flooded areas to ensure that response times for the provision of 24/7 emergency medical care were met. In addition, a station officer in a high sided four wheel drive vehicle was temporarily moved into Omagh 50 Station, to manage the situation as it changed on an hourly basis. An Assistant Emergency Planning Officer was tasked to co-ordinate with the Emergency Service partners and social services on patient rescues and to participate in teleconferences with all responding agencies. 6.79 The Western Health and Social Care Trust experienced difficulties during the flooding in gaining access to vulnerable people in the community. The Trust maintains various lists on which vulnerable clients are noted and these are held by the relevant Directorate Managers and can be accessed when required. During the Fermanagh flooding a daily review of vulnerable clients within the affected area took place. The Trust has reviewed its Major Emergency Plan and awareness sessions for those staff with roles to play within a major emergency and exercises to test the revised Plan are proposed for later in the year. In the event of an emergency occurring in the community, depending on the type of incident and the people involved, the Trust will appoint a designated senior member of staff as a contact point within the Trust. During the Fermanagh flooding a senior member of staff participated in multi-agency Task Force meetings. The Trust will also appoint a designated senior member of staff in the locality of the incident, as it did during the Fermanagh Flooding, to ensure the safe removal of vulnerable people. Trust staff will liaise and work with the NIAS and NIFRS (and other agencies as appropriate) to ensure that for its client groups, it could utilise any relevant externally held and managed equipment. The Trust is currently exploring an initial Memorandum of Understanding with the British Red Cross and is continuing to work closely with NIAS and NIFRS and local Councils in multi-agency planning groups to ensure preparedness. In addition, the Trust has appointed a full-time Emergency Planning Officer to help with all aspects of emergency preparedness. 51 Supply of Potable Water 6.80 Northern Ireland Water (NIW) owns and operates the Killyhevlin Water Treatment Works and has advised that they closely monitored the levels in Lough Erne from mid-November onwards as they rose above the Upper Lough Erne winter limit. On 20 November 2009 the levels were only 75mm lower than the Clear Water Tank overflow level and predicted to rise further. Significant ingress of water was visible into the basement of the plant through ducts where seals were leaking due to the excessive head of water. Without intervention there was the distinct possibility of plant closure and the loss of the water supply to Enniskillen and surrounding areas. Consequently, NIW took steps to protect the works from the developing situation and successfully managed through the period of the flood to ensure that output was maintained. NIW intend to implement a programme of work during 2010 to remove the temporary works where appropriate and install permanent infrastructure to allow future extreme flood events to be better managed. Education Provision 6.81 Contingency arrangements for the education of children in Teemore were put in place when the Western Education and Library Board (WELB) in conjunction with the Moat Primary School, Lisnaskea established a temporary school in a local church hall while the main route from Teemore to Lisnaskea was impassable due to flooding. The WELB has confirmed that it has robust emergency and contingency plans in place to facilitate the continuation of education provision within WELB schools during any future serious flooding event. Refuse and Fallen Animal Collections 6.82 In terms of industrial and commercial refuse collection the Department of the Environment (DOE) has advised that the timely collection of 52 refuse from domestic and industrial premises during prolonged and severe flooding would, in accordance with the relevant legislation, be the responsibility of local authorities and private sector waste operators. Accordingly, it is for local authorities to address the risk of flooding and the impact on waste into their contingency arrangements. The Department and the NI Environment Agency (NIEA) maintain close contact with councils and will monitor the effectiveness of their contingency arrangements in the event of further flooding, with a view to issuing further guidance if necessary. The DOE, through NIEA, would have a role to play in considering possible variations to waste management permissions, authorisations or exemptions for waste collectors and operators to allow timely collection, temporary storage and movement of waste. This would have to be decided on a case by case basis at the time, with the aim of minimising the impact on the environment. 6.83 Fermanagh District Council has a Corporate Business Continuity Plan detailing how the Council will respond in a major disruption to services, and it has identified refuse collection as one of its priority areas in these circumstances. 6.84 The Department for Agriculture and Rural Development has advised that it received anecdotal evidence from the rendering plants which dispose of fallen animals that there was no increase in the number of fallen animals received during the flood period or immediately afterwards, which suggests that this was not a significant problem. However, it is acknowledged that individual farmers may have had problems in having their fallen animals collected. Mobile Phone Coverage 6.85 The Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment (DETI) has advised that mobile phone coverage is poor in parts of Fermanagh as a consequence of a combination of factors including topography, which 53 limits the range of the cellular masts, and the low population density which makes the area commercially unattractive to the private sector mobile phone companies. There is no legal obligation to provide a universal mobile phone service. 6.86 However, as part of current DETI plans to put increased pressure on the regulator and mobile phone companies to improve coverage, and separate to the work of the Flooding Taskforce, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment has written to the communications regulator OFCOM about mobile phone coverage in rural areas generally. 6.87 OFCOM is currently undertaking research into this issue in conjunction with interested stakeholders, including the mobile phone industry, to scope creative solutions. However, providing improved mobile phone coverage in Fermanagh is likely to require very substantial investment, the extent of which is not yet known although each new mast can cost £100,000. There may also be continued local resistance to the construction of additional masts. 6.88 Given that there is no legal requirement for mobile phone companies to provide universal coverage and that technically this would be both difficult and very expensive to achieve it is unlikely that the mobile operators would be able to justify the cost of providing complete coverage of Fermanagh. Refund of Rates 6.89 The Rates Collection Agency of the Department of Finance and Personnel has advised that in terms of domestic rates there is no provision within rating legislation to remit or reduce rating liability unless the ratepayer finds himself/herself with a reduced income, in which case he/she may be eligible for low income rate relief or rate 54 rebate as part of Housing Benefit. 6.90 In terms of business premises, the Hardship Relief Scheme which came into effect from 31 December 2005 allows the Department to reduce rates to assist a business recover from a temporary crisis, financial or otherwise as a result of exceptional and unforeseen circumstances. The flooding in Fermanagh during November 2009 would fall into this category. However, it is extremely difficult to qualify for this relief because the ratepayer must prove financial hardship, which goes beyond calculation of loss and consideration must be given to whether the ratepayer is in a financial position to recover. 6.91 In terms of the farming sector, as agricultural land and buildings are not rated any rate relief would not benefit this sector. Communication and Public Awareness 6.92 In terms of the response to the flooding the view was expressed that there could have been better communication between the responding organisations and the public. There were calls for arrangements to be put in place to ensure the provision of adequate and timely information to the public and that the responding organisations should ensure that the public can access relevant officials at all times. 6.93 Some local traders accused the media of presenting a picture of a ‘siege mentality’ in the press and that this had discouraged trade by giving potential customers that it was not ‘business as usual’. The view was expressed that better liaison was required with the media to prevent this from happening. 6.94 It was recognised by some of those giving evidence that there was a lot of conjecture within the local community about the reasons for the flooding and what might feasibly have been done to prevent or alleviate 55 it. In light of this it was suggested that an education programme on Lough Erne and the management of the Erne System should be developed and delivered to the local community, including school children. Public Contact Arrangements 6.95 Rivers Agency has advised that it assumed the lead role in dealing in communications during the response to the flooding, giving some thirteen interviews to television and radio and issuing thirty-two press statements. The Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development also gave six interviews and made three press statements. Roads Service also participated in interviews and issued statements particularly in regard to road closures. The Fermanagh Office of the Rivers Agency received some 100 calls from the public seeking advice or information about lough levels. 6.96 The Emergency Planning Officer (EPO) for the Western Group of councils, in liaison with Fermanagh District Council’s Emergency Planning Implementation Group, played a pivotal coordination role during the flooding, including facilitating and chairing a co-ordinating group via daily conference calls with all relevant agencies. The daily conference calls proved to be a useful tool in keeping all organisations up to date on the current status of the flooding, and ensured that the public had access to the full range of advice and assistance available. They also ensured that a co-ordinated response was provided to any requests for information or assistance from those affected by the flooding. The EPO prepared and issued press statements on behalf of the multi-agency response group. Media Liaison 6.97 In terms of dealing with traders’ concerns about media portrayal of a siege mentality during the flooding, the Executive Information Service, 56 OFMDFM has advised that as was the case here key cohesive communication messages should be developed as early as practicable during the flooding incident and agreed with all stakeholders to ensure commonality of communication. Those being interviewed and providing information to the media could then actively promote and reinforce the positive message that the town is open for business. Raising Awareness about the Erne System 6.98 The Western Education and Library Board has indicated that it would welcome working with Rivers Agency to prepare an educational advisory teaching pack for schools on the Erne System. This will facilitate the introduction and explanation of this subject within teaching programmes for Fermanagh schools. 6.99 The Rivers Agency has already agreed to present to interested groups on the operation of the Erne system and is considering the possibility of drawing up a short brochure explaining how the Erne System works for distribution in schools. 57 7. C ONCLUSIONS 7.1 It was clear that the extensive flooding in Fermanagh during November 2009 had a profound impact on the lives of those local people directly affected at the time. Furthermore, the potential lasting impact of future flooding was recognised. Impacts of the Flooding 7.2 The large volume of evidence received graphically illustrated the very considerable difficulties experienced in accessing homes, shops, schools, farmland and businesses; problems in caring for the vulnerable; public health concerns; animal welfare issues and wider economic impacts. The potential for lasting damage from future flooding to the viability of rural communities; the reputation of Fermanagh as a tourist destination, and as a good place to do business, was also evident. Given such substantial and potentially long lasting consequences it is important that more is done to alleviate the impact of future serious flooding in Fermanagh. Management of the Erne System 7.3 In preparing for the future, it is important to be clear about why the flooding occurred. Put simply, the flooding was as a direct consequence of the very heavy and persistent rainfall in Fermanagh during October and November 2009 which caused the volume of water flowing into the Erne System to exceed that which could be stored and discharged to the sea. It is of particular note that while the October 2009 rainfall was around average for the month, 95% of that rain fell after 16 October. 7.4 The fact that the flooding occurred does not mean that the Erne System itself is inadequate or that it was not properly managed at the time of the flooding. The Erne System complies with the standards set in the legislation. These standards establish a level of protection against the likely or anticipated level of flooding for the area. It is 58 possible that this level will be exceeded during extreme events and this is what happened in November 2009. It would not be economically or environmentally feasible to increase the capacity of the existing system to a level where flooding from such extreme events could be prevented. Neither does the balance of argument support the proposal put forward by some residents to lower the existing Lough levels, given the detrimental impact this would have on the natural environment and on water-based tourism. 7.5 DARD Rivers Agency and the Electricity Supply Board managed the System during October and November 2009 in accordance with the Erne Drainage and Development Act (Northern Ireland) 1950 and the parameters of the Operating Regime applied under the Act. However, given the impact of the November flooding event, an in depth review of the Regime should be conducted to ensure that it adequately meets modern day needs. This review should include the feasibility of bringing forward the winter drawdown of Lough levels to maximise storage. Flood Mitigation 7.6 In recent years there has been investment in flood mitigation works to protect people and property in Fermanagh. However, these works should be enhanced to further alleviate the impact of serious flooding in the area. This enhancement should, subject to sufficient funding being made available, include works to key roads infrastructure (as detailed at paragraph 6.65) in order to protect important transport and access routes and to mitigate disruption in the Boho area. In addition the feasibility of options for reducing flood risk at Derrychara Link, Enniskillen should be examined. Essential Services 7.7 Even though steps are taken to alleviate flooding risk in Fermanagh, it cannot be prevented altogether and from time to time some flooding is likely to occur. Established practice is that areas prone to flooding are 59 not developed. It is important that this practice should be maintained in order to manage residual flood risk. In addition, while the efforts of the responding organisations involved in dealing with the aftermath of the November flooding are fully recognised, it is imperative that emergency planning arrangements and networks are maintained. These should be further developed where necessary to ensure that leadership responsibilities are clear and fully understood in respect of future flooding emergencies. 7.8 In mitigating the impact of future flooding on people’s daily lives steps must be taken to protect essential service provision. This will include a programme of works at the Killyhevlin Water Treatment Works to protect the public drinking water supply in Enniskillen. In addition, steps must be taken to ensure robust contingency arrangements for the continued provision of emergency / health care, education and refuse collection are in place. Communication and Public Awareness 7.9 Finally, it is key that the local community is as prepared as possible to deal with any future flooding. It is important that the public have accurate information about flood risk in the area, know what to do in a flood situation and how to access help. All agencies involved in managing flood risk and responding to flood emergencies should continue in their efforts to provide easily understandable and accessible information to the public in advance of and during flood emergencies. In addition, current public concerns and misconceptions about the Erne System must be addressed. This can best be done through the provision of an education programme for local school children, presentations and talks to local interest groups, and the production of an Erne System information leaflet for distribution to households in the Fermanagh area. 60 8. RECOMMENDATIONS 8.1 After examining all the evidence provided and considering the detailed assessment of this evidence by the appropriate NI departments and agencies the Flooding Taskforce has made the following recommendations for action by the end of 2011. It is recommended that: Management of the Erne System • An in depth review of the Operating Regime for the Erne System should be conducted to ensure that the arrangements and parameters for the management of the Erne System are adequate to meet modern day needs. The Lough Erne Management Co- ordinating Committee and the Lough Erne Advisory Committee represent all interests and activities associated with Lough Erne, and so should be actively engaged in this review process. Flood Mitigation • Subject to sufficient funding being secured, a programme of road improvement works should be undertaken to include all the roads identified in Section 6 paragraph 6.65 to reduce the likelihood of loss of key transport and access routes. • A feasibility study should be conducted to consider options for reducing flood risk at Derrychara Link, Enniskillen. In the interim, containment measures should be put in place prior to the coming winter. Essential Services • A programme of work to be undertaken to improve the level of protection from flood risk of the Killyhevlin Water Treatment Works. 61 • All organisations involved in the response to and recovery from the November 2009 flooding in Fermanagh should maintain and further develop their emergency planning arrangements and networks to ensure they are as prepared as possible to deal with any serious future flooding which may occur. • All organisations responsible for the provision of essential services to the local community, especially emergency / health care, education and refuse collection must ensure that robust contingency arrangements are in place to protect the provision of these vital services to areas affected by serious flooding. Communication and Public Awareness • An education and public awareness programme should be developed to inform the local community, including school children about flooding in the Fermanagh area and how to deal with it. This should specifically include information on the Erne System. 62 ANNEX 1 List of Taskforce members Bruce Robinson Head of the NI Civil Service (Chair) Noel Lavery Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) (Deputy Chair) Michelle Gildernew MP MLA Minister for Agriculture & Rural Development Arlene Foster MLA Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment Conor Murphy MP MLA Minister for Regional Development Edwin Poots MLA Minister for the Environment Keith Jagelman OFMDFM (Secretary) Philip Mehaffey Rivers Agency, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) Wendy Johnston DARD Wesley Shannon Department of the Environment Brian Daly Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure Owen Doody Western Education and Library Board Dave Foster Northern Ireland Environment Agency Mike Beare Department of Finance and Personnel Andrew Elliott Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety Brendan Duffy Western Health and Social Care Trust Pat Doherty Roads Service, Department for Regional Development Gordon Smyth NI Water Mervyn Adair Social Security Agency Paul Major Northern Ireland Housing Executive Julie Cuming OFMDFM John Murphy OFMDFM 63 ANNEX 2 Lough Levels, Gate State and Discharge at cliff for the period 1 May 2009 to 31 December 2009 Upper Total Lough Portora Lower Lough Discharge At Cliff Rainfall Belleisle u/s d/s Roscor Gate state Spilling m3/s Portora 1/5/2009 46.54 46.26 46.19 46.21 Fully open No 106.54 5.4 2/5/2009 46.56 46.25 46.18 46.18 Fully open No 166.58 1.4 3/5/2009 46.51 46.22 46.16 46.10 Fully open No 182.00 2.6 4/5/2009 46.51 46.18 46.13 46.12 Fully open No 102.04 3.2 5/5/2009 46.48 46.20 46.14 46.12 Fully open No 116.54 8.8 6/5/2009 46.56 46.30 43.22 46.24 Fully open No 63.33 9.6 7/5/2009 46.66 46.40 46.30 46.33 Fully open Yes 195.86 4.4 8/5/2009 46.67 46.34 46.25 46.23 Fully open Yes 285.91 12 9/5/2009 46.75 46.27 46.19 46.17 Fully open Yes 282.75 6.2 10/5/2009 46.77 46.21 46.14 46.10 Fully open Yes 276.35 2.6 11/5/2009 46.72 46.13 46.08 46.03 Fully open Yes 231.79 0 12/5/2009 46.64 46.06 46.03 46.00 Fully open Yes 200.58 0 13/5/2009 46.54 46.02 46.00 45.97 Fully open Yes 200.40 0 14/5/2009 46.45 45.98 45.96 45.90 Fully open Yes 129.08 1.2 15/5/2009 46.38 46.03 46.00 45.96 Fully open No 71.42 9.6 16/5/2009 46.39 46.03 46.00 45.99 Fully open No 92.79 7.5 17/5/2009 46.42 46.07 46.04 46.04 Fully open No 83.17 7.6 18/5/2009 46.43 46.12 46.07 46.02 Fully open No 80.96 6.4 19/5/2009 46.45 46.14 46.09 46.07 Fully open No 84.13 1 20/5/2009 46.47 46.16 46.11 46.09 Fully open No 88.71 1 21/5/2009 46.47 46.18 46.13 46.11 Fully open No 83.17 1 22/5/2009 46.47 46.19 46.13 46.13 Fully open No 108.29 1.2 23/5/2009 46.45 46.17 46.12 46.12 Fully open No 125.67 1.6 24/5/2009 46.47 46.14 46.09 46.08 Fully open No 179.63 5.6 25/5/2009 46.43 46.08 46.05 46.02 Fully open No 174.08 0 26/5/2009 46.37 46.05 46.02 45.94 Fully open No 163.92 1 27/5/2009 46.33 46.02 46.00 45.93 Fully open No 126.17 4.2 28/5/2009 46.30 46.01 45.99 45.94 Fully open No 53.75 2.4 29/5/2009 46.26 46.01 45.99 45.98 Fully open No 61.71 0 30/5/2009 46.22 46.04 46.01 45.99 Fully open No 59.00 0 31/5/2009 46.20 46.05 46.02 46.00 Fully open No 63.21 0 1/6/2009 46.17 46.05 46.02 46.00 Fully open No 56.00 0 2/6/2009 46.15 46.05 46.02 46.00 Fully open No 20.29 0 3/6/2009 46.13 46.07 46.04 46.02 Fully open No 11.92 0 4/6/2009 46.14 46.09 46.06 46.04 Fully open No 12.83 0 5/6/2009 46.14 46.12 46.08 46.04 Fully open No 13.08 0 6/6/2009 46.15 46.10 46.07 46.03 Fully open No 10.67 0 7/6/2009 46.15 46.11 46.07 46.06 Fully open No 12.83 1 8/6/2009 46.15 46.11 46.07 46.07 Fully open No 14.58 0 9/6/2009 46.14 46.11 46.08 46.07 Fully open No 37.50 0 10/6/2009 46.13 46.09 46.06 46.04 Fully open No 25.50 0 11/6/2009 46.13 46.10 46.06 46.04 Fully open No 25.50 0 12/6/2009 46.12 46.07 46.05 46.05 Fully open No 23.33 0 64 13/6/2009 46.10 46.07 46.05 46.05 Fully open No 24.90 4.2 14/6/2009 46.09 46.08 46.05 46.03 Fully open No 16.79 3.4 15/6/2009 46.11 46.09 46.06 46.04 Fully open No 28.00 0.4 16/6/2009 46.10 46.09 46.04 46.04 Fully open No 26.67 0 17/6/2009 46.09 46.09 46.06 46.02 Fully open No 24.29 22.8 18/6/2009 46.15 46.09 46.06 46.04 Fully open No 22.21 0.4 19/6/2009 46.15 46.12 46.08 46.03 Fully open No 27.45 0.4 20/6/2009 46.16 46.12 46.08 46.04 Fully open No 24.88 0.8 21/6/2009 46.16 46.13 46.09 46.05 Fully open No 20.86 0.2 22/6/2009 46.15 46.12 46.08 46.03 Fully open No 27.83 0.2 23/6/2009 46.15 46.11 46.07 46.07 Fully open No 61.45 0.2 24/6/2009 46.12 46.08 46.05 46.04 Fully open No 62.54 0 25/6/2009 46.08 46.05 46.03 46.02 Fully open No 89.88 0 26/6/2009 46.04 46.00 45.98 45.98 Fully open No 12.21 0 27/6/2009 46.02 46.00 45.99 45.97 Fully open No 13.21 0 28/6/2009 46.02 46.00 45.98 45.98 Fully open No 13.17 0 29/6/2009 46.01 46.01 45.99 45.97 Fully open No 0.92 0 30/6/2009 46.02 45.99 45.98 45.98 Fully open No 0.92 0 1/7/2009 46.03 46.02 46.01 45.98 Fully open No 0.92 0 2/7/2009 46.04 46.04 46.02 46.00 Fully open No 0.92 7.8 3/7/2009 46.06 46.05 46.03 46.01 Fully open No 0.92 3.2 4/7/2009 46.08 46.06 46.03 46.03 Fully open No 8.17 15 5/7/2009 46.14 46.09 46.06 46.06 Fully open No 9.08 19.4 6/7/2009 46.21 46.15 46.11 46.10 Fully open No 37.58 0 7/7/2009 46.28 46.17 46.12 46.11 Fully open No 94.21 0 8/7/2009 46.28 46.16 46.12 46.08 Fully open No 113.00 1.2 9/7/2009 46.24 46.12 46.08 46.04 Fully open No 116.00 0.2 10/7/2009 46.20 46.07 46.04 46.01 Fully open No 121.46 0 11/7/2009 46.13 46.02 46.00 45.97 Fully open No 23.54 0 12/7/2009 46.08 46.05 46.03 46.02 Fully open No 28.00 7.6 13/7/2009 46.09 46.06 46.03 46.03 Fully open No 57.04 1 14/7/2009 46.10 46.06 46.04 46.02 Fully open No 26.67 6 15/7/2009 46.12 46.08 46.06 46.03 Fully open No 23.75 2.8 16/7/2009 46.15 46.09 46.06 46.04 Fully open No 23.50 0.4 17/7/2009 46.14 46.14 46.10 46.05 Fully open No 26.58 0.6 18/7/2009 46.17 46.12 46.08 46.06 Fully open No 54.75 0 19/7/2009 46.14 46.12 46.09 46.03 Fully open No 54.04 2 20/7/2009 46.14 46.09 46.06 46.04 Fully open No 56.38 1.2 21/7/2009 46.11 46.05 46.03 46.06 Fully open No 111.88 2.4 22/7/2009 46.10 46.04 46.01 45.99 Fully open No 56.13 6.4 23/7/2009 46.08 46.05 46.02 46.00 Fully open No 60.46 0.8 24/7/2009 46.10 46.06 46.03 45.97 Fully open No 56.92 9.4 25/7/2009 46.11 46.04 46.02 46.01 Fully open No 23.67 0.2 26/7/2009 46.11 46.06 46.03 46.04 Fully open No 25.37 11.2 27/7/2009 46.14 46.10 46.07 46.06 Fully open No 62.42 1 28/7/2009 46.14 46.09 46.06 46.07 Fully open No 60.63 1 29/7/2009 46.19 46.09 46.06 46.03 Fully open No 88.37 3.6 30/7/2009 46.19 46.04 46.01 45.97 Fully open No 140.75 2 31/7/2009 46.16 45.97 45.96 45.95 Fully open No 79.79 0.4 1/8/2009 46.13 45.98 45.98 45.93 Fully open No 28.83 10 2/8/2009 46.13 46.02 46.01 45.98 Fully open No 23.92 4.2 3/8/2009 46.14 46.04 46.03 46.02 Fully open No 24.21 8.8 4/8/2009 46.18 46.10 46.06 46.01 Fully open No 56.12 10.2 5/8/2009 46.19 46.08 46.05 46.06 Fully open No 57.71 0.2 65 6/8/2009 46.17 46.08 46.05 46.04 Fully open No 65.96 0 7/8/2009 46.16 46.07 46.05 46.03 Fully open No 59.79 0.4 8/8/2009 46.13 46.06 46.04 46.00 Fully open No 28.25 0 9/8/2009 46.13 46.07 46.05 46.02 Fully open No 21.13 0.2 10/8/2009 46.11 46.08 46.05 46.02 Fully open No 56.54 2.2 11/8/2009 46.11 46.04 46.02 45.99 Fully open No 38.17 0.2 12/8/2009 46.09 46.07 46.04 45.98 Fully open No 23.25 0.2 13/8/2009 46.10 46.05 46.03 46.01 Fully open No 25.96 0.4 14/8/2009 46.09 46.04 46.02 46.02 Fully open No 25.96 1 15/8/2009 46.14 46.10 46.07 46.03 Fully open No 21.63 16.2 16/8/2009 46.15 46.11 46.08 46.05 Fully open No 31.08 1 17/8/2009 46.19 46.13 46.09 46.08 Fully open No 42.46 5.6 18/8/2009 46.20 46.11 46.07 46.08 Fully open No 79.79 8 19/8/2009 46.21 46.13 46.09 46.07 Fully open No 57.83 4 20/8/2009 46.35 46.17 46.13 46.12 Fully open No 101.21 20.8 21/8/2009 46.50 46.21 46.16 46.15 Fully open No 123.33 1.6 22/8/2009 46.50 46.19 46.13 46.13 Fully open No 166.38 0.4 23/8/2009 46.56 46.18 46.13 46.13 Fully open Yes 219.66 22 24/8/2009 46.92 46.27 46.20 46.17 Fully open Yes 287.25 28.4 25/8/2009 46.91 46.22 46.16 46.11 Fully open Yes 269.18 1.6 26/8/2009 46.90 46.19 46.13 46.06 Fully open Yes 255.83 9.2 27/8/2009 46.91 46.14 46.09 46.02 Fully open Yes 228.09 0.2 28/8/2009 46.88 46.17 46.12 46.02 Fully open Yes 209.83 12 29/8/2009 46.89 46.17 46.11 46.03 Fully open Yes 193.21 2.4 30/8/2009 46.83 46.16 46.10 46.05 Fully open Yes 194.13 0.4 31/8/2009 46.83 46.16 46.11 46.07 Fully open Yes 200.38 16.8 1/9/2009 46.89 46.17 46.15 46.11 Fully open Yes 182.75 6.4 2/9/2009 46.87 46.18 46.12 46.07 Fully open Yes 210.78 0 3/9/2009 46.82 46.16 46.11 46.03 Fully open Yes 204.77 11.8 4/9/2009 46.80 46.14 46.10 46.02 Fully open Yes 199.86 1 5/9/2009 46.75 46.11 46.07 45.98 Fully open Yes 206.67 1.8 6/9/2009 46.69 46.06 46.04 45.97 Fully open Yes 213.76 4.6 7/9/2009 46.67 46.05 46.02 45.85 Fully open Yes 172.15 6 8/9/2009 46.65 46.09 46.06 46.03 Fully open No 114.42 7.6 9/9/2009 46.66 46.12 46.08 46.05 Fully open No 130.29 0.8 10/9/2009 46.62 46.14 46.09 46.07 Fully open No 115.21 0.2 11/9/2009 46.57 46.14 46.09 46.06 Fully open No 112.63 0 12/9/2009 46.52 46.15 46.09 46.06 Fully open No 118.04 0.2 13/9/2009 46.46 46.14 46.09 46.05 Fully open No 116.25 0.2 14/9/2009 46.41 46.12 46.08 46.05 Fully open No 74.58 0 15/9/2009 46.36 46.14 46.10 46.05 Fully open No 100.54 0 16/9/2009 46.32 46.10 46.07 46.04 Fully open No 126.75 0 17/9/2009 46.28 46.05 46.03 45.99 Fully open No 115.17 0 18/9/2009 46.23 46.03 46.01 45.99 Fully open No 23.29 0 19/9/2009 46.17 46.04 46.04 46.00 Fully open No 25.63 0.4 20/9/2009 46.17 46.06 46.03 46.02 Fully open No 25.04 0 21/9/2009 46.16 46.08 46.05 46.04 Fully open No 24.63 1.4 22/9/2009 46.16 46.09 46.06 46.05 Fully open No 26.29 4.8 23/9/2009 46.17 46.11 46.08 46.06 Fully open No 48.04 0.4 24/9/2009 46.16 46.09 46.06 46.05 Fully open No 61.04 1 25/9/2009 46.15 46.07 46.04 46.03 Fully open No 60.79 0 26/9/2009 46.13 46.04 46.03 45.99 Fully open No 64.46 0 27/9/2009 46.10 46.03 46.01 45.99 Fully open No 61.54 0 28/9/2009 46.07 46.01 46.00 45.94 Fully open No 64.13 0 66 29/9/2009 46.06 46.00 45.99 45.93 Fully open No 59.75 0 30/9/2009 46.04 45.98 45.97 45.90 Fully open No 61.96 0 1/10/2009 46.02 45.96 45.96 45.90 FO No 115.10 0 2/10/2009 45.97 45.88 45.89 45.83 FO No 118.20 0.2 3/10/2009 45.92 45.86 45.88 45.80 FO No 59.30 1.4 4/10/2009 45.90 45.82 45.84 45.78 FO No 55.90 0.2 5/10/2009 45.88 45.80 45.84 45.77 FO No 100.90 0 6/10/2009 45.82 45.75 45.79 45.68 FO No 134.20 0.2 7/10/2009 45.78 45.66 45.72 45.62 FO No 114.80 0.2 8/10/2009 45.81 45.80 45.66 45.53 FC 10.00 No 29.60 0.2 9/10/2009 45.86 45.87 45.60 45.53 FC No 12.80 0.2 10/10/2009 45.89 45.88 45.62 45.52 FC No 25.10 7.8 11/10/2009 45.92 45.90 45.64 45.49 FC No 25.90 0.2 12/10/2009 45.95 45.93 45.60 45.48 FC No 49.30 0.4 13/10/2009 45.96 45.95 45.57 45.45 FC No 31.80 0 FC1&2,3&4 14/10/2009 45.98 45.97 45.56 45.42 1'Open No 12.80 0.2 FC1&2,3&4 15/10/2009 45.97 45.92 45.57 45.43 1'Open No 11.80 1.8 FC1&2,3&4 16/10/2009 45.95 45.92 45.57 45.44 1'Open No 12.30 0 FC1&2,3&4 17/10/2009 45.96 45.91 45.58 45.45 1'Open No 11.70 0.2 FC1&2,3&4 18/10/2009 45.93 45.91 45.57 45.45 1'Open No 13.80 0.8 FC1&2,3&4 19/10/2009 45.95 45.93 45.57 45.46 1'Open No 12.00 6.8 1,2,3,4 Open 2' 20/10/2009 45.99 45.98 45.58 45.50 12.00 No 24.70 5.2 21/10/2009 46.02 45.91 45.61 45.52 1,2,3,4 Open 2' No 59.75 4.6 1,2,3,4 open 4' 22/10/2009 46.03 45.92 45.63 45.54 12.30 No 59.79 20 23/10/2009 46.23 45.87 45.70 45.61 1,2,3,4 open 4' No 120.96 12 24/10/2009 46.23 45.86 45.69 45.65 1,2,3,4 open 4' No 78.88 5.4 25/10/2009 46.40 46.05 45.83 45.74 FO 10.00 No 81.00 21.8 26/10/2009 46.40 45.89 45.89 45.80 FO No 168.92 1.4 27/10/2009 46.37 45.90 45.90 45.87 FO No 78.63 5.6 28/10/2009 46.37 45.95 45.94 45.87 FO No 157.62 5.8 29/10/2009 46.35 45.92 45.92 45.86 FO No 143.25 0.2 30/10/2009 46.31 45.91 45.91 45.86 FO No 124.33 3.2 31/10/2009 46.47 45.96 45.95 45.87 FO No 168.79 19 1/11/2009 46.50 46.02 46.00 45.88 FO No 162.12 14.4 2/11/2009 46.76 46.11 46.07 46.01 FO No 150.88 6.4 3/11/2009 46.82 46.15 46.10 46.03 FO No 185.38 6.4 4/11/2009 46.95 46.27 46.19 46.14 FO No 178.54 16.4 5/11/2009 47.11 46.46 46.35 46.26 FO Yes 227.37 7.8 6/11/2009 47.19 46.39 46.29 46.26 FO Yes 296.63 6.2 7/11/2009 47.21 46.42 46.30 46.30 FO Yes 293.04 5.8 8/11/2009 47.21 46.42 46.31 46.28 FO Yes 317.50 4.8 9/11/2009 47.19 46.35 46.25 46.24 FO Yes 310.46 0.2 10/11/2009 47.22 46.36 46.27 46.21 FO Yes 306.15 11.2 11/11/2009 47.19 46.32 46.23 46.17 FO Yes 291.58 0.2 12/11/2009 47.17 46.29 46.21 46.15 FO Yes 298.23 8.4 67 13/11/2009 47.25 46.30 46.21 46.15 FO Yes 295.80 10.4 14/11/2009 47.24 46.32 46.23 46.14 FO Yes 294.65 11.6 15/11/2009 47.29 46.29 46.20 46.13 FO Yes 293.86 0 16/11/2009 47.30 46.30 46.21 46.14 FO Yes 299.02 15.2 17/11/2009 47.42 46.40 46.29 46.24 FO Yes 310.36 9.2 18/11/2009 47.52 46.44 46.33 46.27 FO Yes 314.73 17.2 19/11/2009 47.69 46.50 46.36 46.31 FO Yes 313.33 13.8 20/11/2009 47.93 46.60 46.45 46.37 FO Yes 334.95 14 21/11/2009 48.03 46.61 46.45 46.44 FO Yes 336.65 0.6 22/11/2009 48.08 46.64 46.48 46.47 FO Yes 353.21 5.4 23/11/2009 48.15 46.76 46.58 46.55 FO Yes 355.17 17.6 24/11/2009 48.19 46.82 46.62 46.62 FO Yes 377.13 9 25/11/2009 48.25 46.90 46.69 46.68 FO Yes 377.50 6.6 26/11/2009 48.27 46.92 46.71 46.72 FO Yes 374.90 3.2 27/11/2009 48.24 46.93 46.72 46.73 FO Yes 386.60 3.8 28/11/2009 48.21 46.92 46.71 46.73 FO Yes 375.80 0.4 29/11/2009 48.14 46.92 46.71 46.71 FO Yes 372.80 0.2 30/11/2009 48.06 46.86 46.67 46.67 FO Yes 368.20 0 1/12/2009 48.01 46.79 46.60 46.65 FO Yes 365.20 0.2 2/12/2009 47.97 46.77 46.59 46.61 FO Yes 357.30 6.2 3/12/2009 47.85 46.72 46.56 46.55 FO Yes 353.10 1.8 4/12/2009 47.76 46.66 46.51 46.52 FO Yes 346.40 1.6 5/12/2009 47.72 46.64 46.49 46.48 FO Yes 344.30 8 6/12/2009 47.76 46.60 46.46 46.47 FO Yes 342.30 5.6 7/12/2009 47.69 46.60 46.45 46.45 FO Yes 339.90 2.2 8/12/2009 47.62 46.54 46.41 46.42 FO Yes 336.10 0.6 9/12/2009 47.56 46.51 46.38 46.37 FO Yes 329.50 4 10/12/2009 47.47 46.47 46.35 46.33 FO Yes 327.30 0.6 11/12/2009 47.36 46.42 46.31 46.27 FO Yes 317.00 0.8 12/12/2009 47.24 46.34 46.25 46.20 FO Yes 308.70 0.2 13/12/2009 47.13 46.28 46.20 46.13 FO Yes 292.10 0.2 14/12/2009 47.02 46.22 46.15 46.05 FO Yes 283.10 0.2 15/12/2009 46.91 46.13 46.08 45.99 FO Yes 229.40 0.8 16/12/2009 46.80 46.09 46.05 45.97 FO No 194.00 0 17/12/2009 46.69 46.06 46.03 45.94 FO No 193.80 0.2 18/12/2009 46.60 46.01 45.98 45.91 FO No 190.80 0.2 19/12/2009 46.50 45.96 45.95 45.86 FO No 183.40 0.2 20/12/2009 46.41 45.81 45.91 45.80 FO No 190.70 1.8 21/12/2009 46.33 45.85 45.86 45.76 FO No 163.00 2.6 FO Gates closed 22/12/2009 46.26 45.80 45.82 45.71 to 6' Open 1600 No 180.20 4 23/12/2009 46.19 45.81 45.76 45.67 All 6' Open No 188.10 3.6 6' Open Fully 24/12/2009 46.12 45.74 45.71 45.60 Closed 10.00am No 165.90 0 25/12/2009 46.17 46.13 45.61 45.48 Fully Closed No 164.80 0 Fully Closed All 26/12/2009 46.24 46.20 45.53 45.38 Opened 2' at 14.30 No 129.10 0.2 27/12/2009 46.24 46.02 45.52 45.30 All Open 2' No 130.50 6 28/12/2009 46.24 46.03 45.47 45.30 All Open 2' No 87.70 0 1 & 2 Open 2' 2 & 29/12/2009 46.21 46.00 45.46 45.30 3 Open 3' at 12.00 No 116.50 0 1 & 4 Open 2' 2 & 30/12/2009 46.16 45.82 45.45 45.28 3 Open 3' No 73.10 0.2 68 1 & 4 Open 2' 2 & 31/12/2009 46.23 45.89 45.48 45.32 3 Open 3' No 53.80 4.2 LEGEND FO = FULLY OPEN FC = FULLY CLOSED 69 ANNEX 3 RIVERS AGENCY REPORT – FERMANAGH FLOODING 70 FERMANAGH FLOODING OF NOVEMBER 2009 Prepared by:- Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Rivers Agency Hydebank 4 Hospital Road BELFAST BT8 8JP January 2010 CONTENTS PAGE NO 1. Executive Summary .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 1–2 2. Introduction .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 3–4 3. Background .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 5–8 4. Preparedness .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 11 – 15 5. Influencing factors .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 16 6. Response .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 17 – 20 7. Communications with the press and public .. .. .. .. .. .. 21 – 22 8. Flooding from the Sillees River .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 23 – 24 9. Aspects which worked well .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 25 – 27 10. Challenges .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 28 – 29 11. Suggestions for further improvements .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 30 12. Lessons learnt .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 31 13. Conclusions .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 32 – 33 14. Recommendations .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 34 – 35 Annex 1 List of Participants at Structured Debrief Annex 2 Aspects which worked well (Record of structured debrief) Annex 3 Challenges (Record of structured debrief) Annex 4 Improvements (Record of structured debrief) Annex 5 Lessons Learnt (Record of structured debrief) Annex 6 Tables and Hydrographs Annex 7 Photographs Review of the Response to Flooding in Fermanagh in November 2009 1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1.1 The flooding in Fermanagh in November 2009 was an extreme event as a result of persistent rainfall throughout late October and November 2009. The water levels in Lough Erne reached record levels. 1.2 Only 3 properties were flooded but many more were isolated by the floodwaters and rural life was severely disrupted as roads became impassible. Vast areas of farmland were inundated although few stock were in the fields. 1.3 Water levels in the Loughs were drawn down in early October 2009 to increase storage capacity for the autumn and winter months and spilling of water at Cliff and Ballyshannon was carried out in accordance with legislation. 1.4 Co-ordination and communication between the different organisations involved worked well and substantial efforts were made to try to minimize the disruption to the public. 1.5 Construction of properties on higher ground significantly reduced the number of properties flooded. 1.6 Works to significantly increase the capacity of channels and control structures are not economically viable. 1.7 Rivers Agency in partnership with ESB will review operational arrangements within the existing legislation and also review the performance of the existing regime since its introduction in the 1950s. 1.8 Roads Service will examine the viability of raising critical roads including those at Boho where flooding from the Sillees River occurs. 1 1.9 All agencies will draw on the lessons learnt from this event and seek improvement in all areas of Emergency Response including communication with the public. 1.10 Consideration should be given to establishing an agency to provide a strategic overview to the management of flooding. 2 2. INTRODUCTION 2.1 Due to persistent rainfall throughout late October and November 2009 water levels in Upper and Lower Lough Erne rose above prescribed upper limits and extensive flooding occurred in Fermanagh particularly around the area of the Upper Lough. This report outlines the current water management system for Lough Erne, and how this was applied during the event. It also examines the response by different agencies to the flooding event and makes recommendations for improvements in the future. 2.2 A meeting to review the multi agency response to the flooding in Fermanagh was held in Enniskillen on 19 January 2010. The debrief was facilitated and chaired by Rivers Agency, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Fermanagh District Council hosted the meeting. A list of attendees is included in Annex 1. In advance of the debrief all responders were asked to re-examine their preparedness and response to the flooding event and to submit a short overview to Rivers Agency. This report reflects both the inputs from these overviews and points raised during the debrief. This document will be fed into the Fermanagh Task Force to assist it in its deliberations. The Task Force, led by OFMDFM, aims to produce an interim report by the end of February 2010. 2.3 The report considers two separate flooding events in Fermanagh in November 2009. Whilst the main elements of this report are related to the flooding post 19 November 2009 as a result of outflow from Upper and Lower Lough Erne, some reference is made to the situation at Boho which was as a result of inundation of the natural floodplain of the Sillies River on 4 November (See Photograph 1 – Section 8). More detail on the Sillees flooding is referenced in Section 8 page 24. 3 2.4 The purpose of holding a review both from Rivers Agency perspective and the other responders is to try to capture any lessons learnt and for each organisation to then apply these points to further develop their own emergency planning arrangements for the future. 2.5 Participants at the review represented a wide range of public organisations, all of whom had been involved in the response to the flooding event or whose services had been impacted upon as a result of the flooding. The review did not take evidence from members of the public as this falls within the Terms of Reference of the Fermanagh Task Force. However some statutory authority representatives at the structured debrief had been present at the evidence gathering sessions. 2.6 The fundamental principles of emergency management are that processes are followed which assess, plan, prepare and respond to events and that the various activities of the responding organisations are joined up and co- ordinated to provide a service to those affected by an incident. 2.7 Any lessons learnt are detailed in this report and recommendations made as to how these should be taken on board. 4 3. BACKGROUND 3.1 There was limited control over water levels in Lough Erne and regular flooding occurrences until the Government interceded in 1941. However the World War II flying boat base on the Lower Lough made it necessary for levels to be kept up and while local farmers accepted this, they continued to press for a drainage scheme. In October 1947 the Prime Minister announced that cross border negotiations had started and the Erne Drainage and Development Act (Northern Ireland) 1950 was passed on 27 June 1950. This legislation and corresponding legislation in the south defined the current responsibilities of Rivers Agency and Electricity Supply Board (ESB) with respect to the management of water levels within the Erne System. 3.2 The River Erne, which rises from Lough Gowna in County Cavan, flows through County Fermanagh and to the sea at Ballyshannon in County Donegal. The river, which is some 100km long, drains an area of around 4,350km2, of which 1,850km2 is in Counties Fermanagh and Tyrone. There are a large number of lakes in the catchment area upstream of Enniskillen. The largest is Upper Lough Erne which has a surface area of some 38km2. Discharge from the Upper Lough passes through the inter lough channel to Lower Lough Erne (Surface Area approximately 111km2) and onwards through the Belleek Channel to Cliff where the first of two power stations is located. The second power station is located approximately 5km downstream at Cathaleens Falls (more commonly known as Ballyshannon). Sluice gates, (which can be used to control the water level in the Upper Lough) are located at Portora (See Map 1 and Photograph 2 at end of this section) in the inter lough channel. These are used primarily to maintain water in the Upper Lough above the lower prescribed limit. The water level of the Loughs is drawn down in October each year in order to maximise storage capacity in the Loughs to cope with the expected increase in rainfall during the autumn and winter months. 5 The Loughs provide storage in the system which is particularly important during winter as rainfall generally increases. When inflow is too great water can be spilled at Cliff (usually during the winter) and if inadequate to sustain Upper Lough levels it can be held up by closing the Portora gates. Where rain is persistent a situation can be reached, as was the case in this instance, where the inflow of water from the catchment into the Loughs substantially exceeded the amount that could be conveyed by the channels and passed through the system to the sea. The Erne catchment has a slow response to rainfall due to its size and the number of lakes and prolonged periods of rain give rise to flooding due to high lough levels. This is different from an urban area and the floods of June 2007 and August 2008 where periods of heavy rainfall over a relatively short period of time caused widespread flooding across the province. Flooding was mainly restricted to the Upper Lough area in November and early December 2009. This is because the Upper Lough is small with relatively low lying ground adjacent whereas the Lower Lough is three times the size with higher ground surrounding the Lough. 3.4 As a result of the Erne Drainage and Development Act (Northern Ireland) 1950 extensive works were undertaken on the Erne System which included: • Deepening 6.4km of channel from Lower Lough Erne to Belleek • Deepening 18.4km of channel between Upper and Lower Lough Erne • Removal of the sluice gates at Belleek and regulation of the flow at Cliff • Construction of a new control structure with navigation lock to facilitate passage of boats at Portora, Enniskillen • Construction of a new dam and hydro power station at Cliff • Construction of a new dam and hydro power station at Cathaleens Falls (Ballyshannon) • Total power output 65Mw of hydro power. 6 3.5 The Agreement enshrined in the 1950 Act set statutory water levels for Lower Lough Erne to Ordnance Datum (OD) at Poolbeg, Dublin as follows:- Lower Lough: Not to exceed 46.33m (152 feet) or fall below 44.81m (147 feet) No absolute statutory upper level was set for the Upper Lough but the following was included: (a) “during the period from April to September inclusive the water level of the Upper Lough, shall not, as far as reasonably preventable, exceed a level of 154 feet above OD” (46.94m). (b) “during the period from October to March inclusive the water level of the Upper Lough shall not, as far as reasonably preventable, exceed a level of 155 feet above OD” (47.24)m. In addition the inter lough Channel was not to fall below 150 feet (45.72m). Effectively the limit of the inter lough channel determines the lower limit of the Upper Lough. The level at Cliff cannot be drawn below 143 feet (43.59m) although the realistic minimum level is 144 feet 4 inches (44.0m). During an extreme event ESB is obliged to maintain the level at Cliff at 43.59m (143 feet) and it is the limiting capacity of the Belleek Channel which has the main influence on the level within the Lower Lough. In practice the minimum level for Cliff is 44.0m (144 feet 4 inches) as below this level the increase in discharge of water achieved in the Belleek Channel is minimum, around 5.0m3/s and as discharge increases this is reduced. In addition as the level approaches 44.0m (144 feet 4 inches) or below, the discharge becomes hydraulically unstable and it becomes difficult to maintain a steady headrace at Cliff. To convert Poolbeg OD to Belfast OD it is necessary to deduct 9.25 feet (2.82m). 7 For convenience upper limits for the Loughs are summarised at top of pages 11 to 13. The Agreement also states that between October and March when the water level of the Upper Lough has risen to 154 feet above OD and is in the opinion of a Rivers Agency Engineer or an ESB Engineer likely to rise above 155 feet OD, then the water level of the Lower Lough (if it is above 151.5 feet above OD) shall as rapidly as reasonably practicable be reduced by ESB to such a level no lower than 151.5 feet above OD. This is to ensure that the water level of the Upper Lough may be prevented from rising above or be brought down to 155 feet above OD. ‘As rapidly as reasonably practicable’ effectively means that water should be directed through the turbines to generate hydroelectric power and the spillways at Cliff and Ballyshannon utilised to dissipate the maximum flow that the Belleek channel can accommodate. Water levels within the Erne system are monitored daily and regular contact is maintained between Rivers Agency and ESB. Met Office and Met Éireann rain forecasts and weather warnings provide essential information and are a vital tool in the decision making process. 8 BALLYSHANNON LOWER LOUGH ERNE CLIFF INTER LOUGH CHANNEL UPPER LOUGH ERNE MAP 1 9 10 To prevent level of Upper Lough falling below 150ft to protect: • clay foundations in Enniskillen • navigation & boating interests PHOTO 2 – Sluice gates at Portora Lower Lough – Not to exceed 46.33m (152 feet) Upper Lough – No statutory upper limit Not, if reasonably preventable, to exceed 46.94m (154 feet) – summer Not, if reasonably preventable, to exceed 47.24m (155 feet) – winter 4. PREPAREDNESS 4.1 Navigation and other interests require higher minimum lough levels during the summer months but the intention is always to try to reduce levels to the lowest achievable level from 1 October to allow for winter storage. While this is not always possible due to autumn rainfall patterns, in October 2009 it was achieved as the first half of the month was virtually dry. The rainfall in October was 101% in County Fermanagh compared to the Long Term Average. 125mm was recorded at Portora against an average of 117.45mm (See Table 2). Only 5% of October’s rainfall fell up to 16 October 2009. 95% of this rainfall fell after the 16 October 2009. 4.2 Lough Levels – period prior to persistant rainfall 1 October – 17 October 2009 4.2.1 The gates at Portora were fully open on 1 October to assist in drawing down the Upper Lough level to maximise winter storage. They were closed between 7 and 14 October to maintain the Upper Lough above the minimum prescribed level and were gradually opened from 14 October to control flows between the loughs. . Date Upper Lough Lower Lough 1 October 46.02m (151 feet) 45.9m (150 feet 7½ inches) 7 October 45.78 (150 feet 2 inches) 45.62m (149 feet 8 inches) 4.3 Lough Levels – period with persistent rain prior to spilling (18 October – 4 November 2009) 4.3.1 Inflow to the system exceed outflow and both loughs continued to rise. The gates at Portora were fully opened on 25 October. 11 Lower Lough – Not to exceed 46.33m (152 feet) Upper Lough – No statutory upper limit Not, if reasonably preventable, to exceed 46.94m (154 feet) – summer Not, if reasonably preventable, to exceed 47.24m (155 feet) – winter 4.3.2 On the 4 November both loughs were below the targeted winter levels and no flooding was occurring other than from the Sillees River at Boho which is not caused by rising lough levels. Date Upper Lough Lower Lough 18 October 45.93m (150 feet 8 inches) 45.45m (149 feet 1 inch) 4 November 46.95 (154 feet 1 inch) 46.14m (151 feet 5 inches) 4.4 Lough Levels - period prior to peak when spilling (5 November – 27 November 2009) 4.4.1 Conditions for spilling were reached and ESB in consultation with Rivers Agency commenced spilling at Cliff on 5 November. 4.4.2 With the gates at Portora open and spillage and generation of power being undertaken to maximise possible outflow, this had the desired effect of slowing down/stablising the rise of the water level in the Upper Lough. Reference Hydrograph 1 which illustrates the slowing of the rate of rise between Points A and B. Point C illustrates the lowest level reached on 7 October and Point D illustrates the peak reached on 26 November 2009. 4.4.3 Spilling initially caused the levels in the Lower Lough to reduce between Points A and B on Hydrograph 2 but rainfall intensified from the 14 November and 53.2mm was recorded at Portora in the following five days. The Lower Lough started to rise again and exceeded its upper limit on 19 November. (Point C Hydrograph 2) before peaking some 0.4m above this level on 27 November (Point E). 12 Lower Lough – Not to exceed 46.33m (152 feet) Upper Lough – No statutory upper limit Not, if reasonably preventable, to exceed 46.94m (154 feet) – summer Not, if reasonably preventable, to exceed 47.24m (155 feet) – winter 4.4.4 The initial lowering of the Lower Lough eventually stablised the level in the Upper Lough just below the winter limit but the increase in intensity of rainfall from 14 November caused the level to rise sharply eventually peaking on 26 November some 1.03m above the prescribed limit (Point D Hydrograph 1) 4.4.5 Reports from Roads Service covering 15-16 November 2009 indicated there was no road flooding in Fermanagh although heavy rain had caused road flooding in other parts of the North. By 18 November reports from Roads Service were starting to indicate road flooding around the Upper Lough mainly and the Boho area. From 27 November 2009 both the Upper and Lower Lough levels started to fall. Date Upper Lough Lower Lough 5 November 47.11m (154 feet 7 inches) 46.26m (151 feet 9 inch) 14 November 47.24m (155 feet) 46.14m (151 feet 5 inches) 26 November 48.27m (158 feet 4 inches) 46.72m (153 feet 3½ inches) 4.5 Sandbag Stores and Pumps 4.5.1 As is normal prior to any anticipated flooding, Rivers Agency replenished sandbag supplies in both Fermanagh and Omagh, and several thousand sandbags were available for delivery and placement. Pumps were checked to ensure that they were in good working order. Grilles and culverts were also checked and cleared. 4.6 Contact with Others 4.6.1 Regular contact was maintained prior to the event with staff in ESB. This is normal practice in management of the Lough Erne levels. 13 4.6.2 On 2 October 2009 an email was sent to Waterways Ireland advising that as it was October, Rivers Agency would be seeking to reduce the water levels in the Loughs to provide storage for winter rains and that the control structure and lock gates at Portora would be adjusted accordingly. Waterways Ireland is the navigation authority for the Erne System. Further contact was made with Waterways Ireland on 4 November to advise them of the rising lough levels. Fermanagh District Council was also alerted by telephone in early November that Rivers Agency was becoming concerned by the rising levels in the loughs and of the distinct possibility of flooding, particularly around the Upper Lough and Enniskillen itself. In mid-November contact was also made with Roads Service specifically in relation to the strong possibility of flooding. 4.6.3 Fermanagh District Council was contacted by Rivers Agency on 16 November 2009 and advised that the caravan park at Lisnaskea was in danger of flooding. The Caravan park was sub-let but contact was made with the leasee which allowed the caravans to be moved out to safety. Contact was also instigated on 18 November with the Western Group Emergency Planning Co-ordinator to advise about the strong possibility of extensive flooding. The Emergency Planning Co-Ordinator relayed this information to Fermanagh District Council. On 19 November a telephone conference call was held between Rivers Agency, Roads Service and Fermanagh District Council. An Emergency Planning Implementation Group meeting, with representation from each council department, was held in the Council offices and each department ensured that Business Continuity Plans were up to date. On Friday 20 November Castle Parks Centre, Lisnaskea was organised as temporary provision for Share Centre residents. The Emergency Planning Co-Ordinator contacted all relevant organisations as listed in Annex 1. This also included the Met Office and Marine Coastguard 14 Agency. A telephone conference call pool was organised to ensure that a co- ordinated multi-agency response to the situation was followed. This conference call arrangement was continued over the weekend and allowed each organisation to inform each other what their response capacity was and other proposed actions they were planning to take. 15 5. INFLUENCING FACTORS 5.1 The major influencing factor in the flooding event was the amount of rain that fell from mid-October through to late-November 2009. Between 17 October and 27 November 2009 336.8mm of rain were recorded at Portora. During this period, 15 November 2009 was the only day when no rain was recorded. For the month of November the rainfall was recorded as 226.40mm against a long term average of 103.25mm (See Table 2 – Rainfall records from 1988). The rain in late October and November 2009 in Fermanagh was a rainfall event well in excess of a 1 in 100 year event. A 1 in 100 year event means there is a 100 to 1 chance in any one year of an occurrence happening. 5.2 The heavy rain in mid to late October 2009 caused the ground in the catchment to become saturated by early November. Met Éireann’s website confirms this. This effectively meant that from early November all rain falling in the catchment ran off into the rivers and loughs. 5.3 The other major restricting factor during the flooding event is the capacity of both the inter lough channel which connects the Upper Lough to the Lower Lough and the Belleek Channel. These are sized to accommodate sufficient flow, that when combined with storage in the lough system, significant flooding only occurs during extreme events. A similar restriction occurs in the channel through Belleek which runs towards Cliff. The Cliff dam controls the water levels in the Lower Lough. The design capacity of the power station combined with spillage can effectively disperse the maximum amount of water that can be conveyed by the Belleek Channel. All these restrictions means that, between spillage and water required for generation, the amount of water that could normally be discharged is 330m3/s. At some stages during the flooding event 385m3/s were being discharged due to the unprecedented head differential across the system. 16 6. RESPONSE 6.1 Telephone Calls 6.1.1 During November telephone calls were received by the three drainage agencies as detailed below:- Organisation Calls received from Calls received directly Flooding Incident Line into offices Rivers Agency 18 29 Road Service 44 43 NI Water 6 15 TOTAL 68 87 Some of the calls were related to flooding from the Sillees River. In addition to the above approximately 100 calls were received by Rivers Agency from the public seeking advice on the levels within the Loughs. The total calls requesting assistance was less than 200. In an urban area in a large flooding event this figure would be much higher. This low level of calls may be attributable to the resilience of the existing population in and around the Lough. 6.2 Sandbags and Pumping 6.2.1 As part of the response several hundred sandbags were delivered to two nursing homes and left on site although they were not required to be placed as the homes did not flood. Fermanagh District Council technical staff worked with Translink and the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) to ensure that the Bus Depot did not become impassable and also that the Lakeland Forum car park could be kept partially open. Fermanagh District Council employed approximately six tonnes of sandbags and a portable water pump to ensure the flood levels were kept to a minimum. The NIFRS also deployed a 17 pumping appliance to aid this process. Fermanagh District Council also negotiated with the business owners in the Derrychara link to provide pedestrian access to the worst affected properties from Tesco end of the Link. Signage and pedestrian guard rails/crowd control barriers were used to enable this. Sandbags were also delivered by Rivers Agency and Roads Service to Quay Pass (near Erneside Shopping Centre) and placed. On Friday 20 November one pump was delivered to the site and by Tuesday 24 November 2009 this had been increased to five pumps. By Tuesday 24 November 2009 it had become evident that pumping alone would not keep the road open. Therefore between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning over 700 tonnes of stone and bitmac were brought in by Roads Service to raise the road level. The principle objective of the works was to avoid traffic gridlock in the town. The roads between Derrylin and Lisnaskea and at Carrybridge, which are the only two east-west crossing points on the Upper Lough, were not passable to normal traffic. The main roads through Enniskillen became the alternative shortest route for commuters. If Quay Pass had closed traffic would have had to go through Gaol Square and Derrychara Road junctions. This would have caused the Wellington Road and Dublin Road to be grid locked and in addition would have created a major problem for Blue Light services to respond to any other emergency. 6.2.2 A similar exercise was considered but ruled out on the Derrychara Link road as it was impracticable to isolate the area to allow pumping. 6.3 Conference Calls 6.3.1 From 20 November right through to and including 9 December 2009 a daily telephone conference call was held at noon each day and the following organisations participated:- BT Emergency Planning Co-ordinator Western Group of Councils Fermanagh District Council Marine Coastguard Agency 18 Northern Ireland Ambulance Service NIE Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service Northern Ireland Housing Executive NI Water Police Service of Northern Ireland Rivers Agency Roads Service Western Education and Library Board Western Health and Social Care Trust During the telephone conference call each day organisations were updated on the situation and daily actions were allocated to each appropriate organisation. 6.3.2 Meetings were held and chaired by Fermanagh District Council or the Emergency Planning Co-ordinator on 23, 25 and 27 November 2009 and 2 December. These meetings were also attended by Western Health and Social Care Trust, Rivers Agency, Police Service for Northern Ireland, Roads Service, NI Water and Northern Ireland Ambulance Service. The meetings were arranged for 10am so that any actions could be relayed to the other organisations on the daily telephone conference call at 12pm. These meetings highlighted that due to the rurality of the area and the fact that some families were “cut off” that distribution of essential supplies may become an issue. On 27 November Fermanagh Council delivered food supplies to one family and Rivers Agency offered to provide staff and boats to carry food and supplies to any member of the public due to the extreme nature of the event. 6.4 Aerial Photographs Aerial photographs were taken of the extent of the flooding on three dates throughout November 2009. The area around the Sillees River was flown on 9 November and the area around Upper Lough Erne particularly was flown on 20 and 26 November 2009. 20 November was the date that roads were 19 starting to become impassable and 26 November was when the levels in the Loughs peaked. These were available to all participants to target assistance to those cut off by floodwaters. Aerial photography is important in identifying the extent of flooding for historical records and future developments and will aid in the delivery of the EU Floods Directive. 20 7. COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE MEDIA AND PUBLIC 7.1 More than 50 media queries and interview requests relating to the November 2009 flooding were dealt with by the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development and Rivers Agency officials prior to and for the duration of the flooding event. Similarly Department of Regional Development (DRD) Officials dealt with more than 20 media queries and interview requests. These are summarised in the table below. Type of Number of Number of DARD Number of Number of media Rivers Rivers Minister DRD DRD outlet Agency Agency interviews statements interviews statements interviews issued completed issued completed Television 2 5 3 - 4 Radio 6 8 3 - 6 Daily 12 2 1 7 - newspaper Regional 12 1 2 6 - newspapers Sub Total 32 16 9 13 10 TOTAL: 75 The content of the statements and interviews were tailored to individual requests but typically included the following information: - explanation of the Erne system and the rainfall event - advice to the public on what to do in the event of the flooding and relevant contact numbers, for example, Flooding Incident Line - update on Lough levels and current flooding situation - details of work that Rivers Agency and others were undertaking to help alleviate flooding In addition Fermanagh District Council, Rivers Agency and the Western Health and Care Trust jointly released two press releases. 21 The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA, visited Fermanagh on 24 November to see the extent of the flooding. Furthermore the Minister returned to Fermanagh on 27 November with the Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness MP, MLA to again see the situation first hand and to meet with local people. These meetings were also attended by senior officials from Rivers Agency. The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Arlene Foster MLA and the First Minister Peter Robinson, MP, MLA visited the area on 28 November 2009 to assess the situation. The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Minister also made a statement to the Assembly on 30 November 2009 concerning the flooding in Fermanagh. As the flooding event moved from the response to the recovery phase, Fermanagh District Council assumed the lead role from Rivers Agency and this was formally handed over on 4 December 2009. 22 8. FLOODING FROM THE SILLEES RIVER 8.1 Flooding from the Sillees River around Boho occurred in early November 2009. (See Photograph 1 overleaf) The flooding, which happens regularly in times of heavy rainfall, inundates farmland and roads which are constructed across the natural floodplain of the river. No property was flooded but local road communication was extremely difficult and affected access for primary school children attending Killyhommon Primary School at exam time. 8.2 Feasibility studies to try to resolve the problem have been undertaken by Rivers Agency, most recently in 2008. Solutions to upgrade the watercourse and options to divert headwater into Lower Lough Erne were examined. Conclusions were that the costs of diverting headwaters were prohibitive because works would require extensive tunneling in an area of porous limestone. Works were estimated to cost of the order of £6m to £10m well in excess of the benefit afforded, primarily due to the alleviation of road flooding. No cost beneficial scheme re-routing the line of the river is feasible. 8.3 The Sillees catchment is a natural and beautiful area and extensive engineering works would cause considerable modification to a natural river. It is likely this would raise considerable environmental opposition if proposed. 23 24 PHOTO 1 – Out of bank and road flooding at Sillees River 9. ASPECTS WHICH WORKED WELL 9.1 Aspects which worked well, identified at the structured debrief and attributed to different organisations, are detailed in Annex 2. The comments received from the various organisations were collated as follows:- Preparedness, Communication, Co-ordination, Response and Information to the Public and the Media. 9.2 Preparedness 9.2.1 Agencies were able to instigate contingency plans as the conference calls had given warning of extensive flooding. Fire and Rescue Service had been able to maintain operational response to fires and rescues and had relocated its Specialist Rescue Team to Lisnaskea. ESB had been able to maintain water levels at Cliff at 44m (144 feet 4 inches) throughout the duration of the flooding event, to maximise flow accrued through the system. Western Education and Library Board was able to utilise other premises so pupils attending Moat Primary School in Lisnaskea and who lived on the western side of Upper Lough Erne were able to be facilitated resulting in only one school day being lost throughout the period of the flooding. Pupils attending other schools in the Lisnaskea area who were unable to get to school were able to be facilitated by their schools through use of Internet access. (Staff and pupils had to make extraordinary efforts to achieve this). Rivers Agency put staff on call and ensured sufficient supplies of sandbags were available. 9.3 Communication between organisations 9.3.1 Overall communications between the different organisations/agencies worked very well. A number of responders found the daily conference calls which updated water levels in the loughs and road closures particularly useful. These conference calls highlighted the fact that the BT Network in Fermanagh was working well. This had been a concern as the number of telephone calls from the public seeking assistance was low. 25 9.4 Co-ordination 9.4.1 Many organisations stated that co-ordination between the different agencies had been very good. Notification of the possibility of widespread flooding had allowed Fire and Rescue Service to liaise and establish the level of additional resources that were available from southern colleagues in Belturbet, Ballyconnell and Clones. 9.4.2 The conference call arrangements were highlighted by a number of organisations as an effective means of sharing information and being kept up to date on the situation. 9.4.3 NI Water was able to take pro-active measures at Killyhevlin Water Treatment Works as result of the provision of water levels and prediction data from Rivers Agency. If the Treatment Works had flooded, there would have been the potential for a pollution incident on the Lough and the water supply to Enniskillen and the surrounding area would have seen substantial disruption. Rivers Agency had previously given advice on construction levels for the Treatment Works as part of the Planning process. 9.5 Response 9.5.1 Staff goodwill was commended by participants where it was noted that local staff had worked long hours to assist in the response. It was recognised that good local knowledge had been of invaluable assistance and Fermanagh District Council noted that where a problem had been identified prompt action was taken to try to alleviate it. Roads Service noted that although its resources had been stretched, it had managed to borrow signs indicating flooding and road closures from other depots to ensure that all key flooding locations had been signed to alert the public to the danger. 9.5.2 ESB recorded that they had managed unprecedented water discharges through Cliff and Ballyshannon. 9.6 Information to the Public and the Media 9.6.1 The fact that timely information was provided to the media was seen as a success. The DARD Minister and Rivers Agency had responded to more 26 than 50 media requests. This included participating in TV and radio interviews. The First and Deputy First Ministers and the Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister also visited the area. Roads Service had regularly updated the traffic watch website with the lists of roads that were impassable and DRD officials also responded to more than 20 media requests including broadcast interviews. 9.7 It should also be noted that in areas close to Upper Lough Erne, farming neighbours helped each other and assisted in transporting children to school and delivering of groceries. 27 10. CHALLENGES 10.1 Comments relating to future challenges were also collated and grouped into the same five categories, namely Preparedness, Communication, Co- ordination, Response and Information to the Public and the Media. 10.2 Preparedness 10.2.1 The Emergency Planning Co-ordinator noted that wider issues had arisen that are not currently covered in the multi agency flood plan. Housing Executive will review its plans if a housing estate was to be flooded. 10.3 Communication within and between organisations 10.3.1 Although communications between the different responders had worked well the Ambulance Service believed that dissemination of information internally could be reviewed to seek improvement. The Education and Library Board stated that they had made available canoes and inflatables complete with trained staff and this facility while not needed during this event, could be put to use in future incidents. Therefore an inventory of these resources should be made available and included in an area Flood Plan. 10.3.2 BT noted that interaction between the Council, Rivers Agency and themselves was verbal. A short written situation report may have been useful. Housing Executive suggested that it needs to explain its statutory role to offer temporary accommodation in these situations more widely including that payment is required. 10.4 Co-ordination 10.4.1 It was noted that although co-ordination was very good between the different agencies there maybe should have been a round table meeting between all those involved rather than just the core responders eg Housing Executive, BT and NIE should also have been included. 28 10.4.2 The issue of possible over dependence on local knowledge was raised and the PSNI mentioned that at the very early stages of the incident there were no lines of responsibility on who should take the lead. Western Health and Social Care Trust highlighted that there was some confusion with clarity of roles particularly internally. 10.5 Response 10.5.1 Roads Service, Western Health and Social Care Trust and the PSNI all mentioned that their own vehicles had limitations in working in floodwaters. More access to 4 x 4 vehicles would have been useful. 10.5.2 The Emergency Planning Co-ordinator noted that identification of vulnerable people had not been carried out until 25 November 2009. Education and Library Board recorded that although not many houses had been flooded, several were cut off and they had no immediate specific details or locations on the pupils affected. 10.6 Information to the Public and the Media 10.6.1 Rivers Agency suggested that there was some public misperception regarding the operational restrictions of Lough Erne, particularly in relation to the drawing down of Lough levels. 10.6.2 There was a general feeling that more single multi-agency press releases should have been issued on behalf of the wider group of agencies involved. Emergency Planning Co-ordinator mentioned that a public relations role may be required from the Council to ensure that the public are made aware of the prolonged nature of the floods and precautions to take. Flooding Incident Line (FIL) mentioned that more promotion of the Flooding Incident Line number was required. 29 11. SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER IMPROVEMENTS 11.1 Local Resilience Fora were identified as having a key role in future arrangements. The only current forum in place is Belfast Resilience Forum which is led by the PSNI and the Council and whose members include representatives from all appropriate public sector organisations and the voluntary sector. 11.2 Several organisations highlighted that improved public relations/ communications would help develop multi-agency relationships for any future events. 11.3 The possibility of a central location for a co-ordination centre should be explored. 11.4 The majority of the organisations believed it would be beneficial to have a lead agency for co-ordination of widespread flooding events. This role had initially been filled by Rivers Agency and at recovery phase had been passed to Fermanagh District Council. 30 12. LESSONS LEARNT 12.1 A number of lessons learnt were mentioned including the benefits of local knowledge and early identification of a lead agency. 12.2 The historical high levels of the Upper Lough, in particular,prior to the ‘Erne Summer Relief Scheme’ in the 1950s, has restricted development in the floodplain. Recent Planning policy has also restricted developments and these combined, significantly reduced the likelihood of flooding of property. 12.3 The importance of a pro-active approach and early communication with the media was acknowledged. 12.4 The social impact of a flood of this magnitude was mentioned as well as the benefits in the inter agency co-operation. 31 13. CONCLUSIONS 13.1 The flooding event in Fermanagh was as a consequence of persistent rainfall from mid-October through November 2009, with 336.8mm of rain falling in this timeframe. The water level in the Upper Lough peaked at 48.27m (158 feet 5 inches). This was the highest level recorded since the Erne Drainage Scheme was completed, some 0.5m above the previous record. 13.2 Bearing in mind that the rainfall event was well in excess of a 1 in 100 year event and taking account of the lough records, this flooding event was extreme. There is also no doubt that if the lough levels had not been drawn down in early October 2009 that more extensive flooding would have occurred. 13.3 Water level control was exercised in accordance with the current legislation. 13.4 Co-ordination and co-operation between the different responders was sound. 13.5 This type of event is only likely to happen in winter during periods of persistent rainfall. There are few animals or crops in the field at this time of the year. 13.6 Two houses and the Share Centre were actually flooded, although a significant number of properties were cut off for a period of weeks. Whilst the Western Health and Social Care Trust has a record of vulnerable people, a more systematic record of establishing which homes are cut off should be examined. 13.7 The number of houses flooded was relatively low, partially due to the application of Planning policy which restricts carrying out development in the floodplain. The floodplain is normally defined as the extent of land that would be flooded by a 1 in 100 year flood event. Many of the houses in Fermanagh are sensibly sited on higher ground, some of which predate the 1950s Drainage Scheme, which considerably lowered Lough levels. 13.8 The response to this type of extensive flooding is limited as placing of sandbags is not a viable option to contain the rising lough levels. The focus 32 should be to protect critical infrastructure and keep the road network open as far as possible. In this case at an early stage there was good co-ordination between all the responding agencies. 13.9 Flooding in the area of the Sillees River happens more regularly but no cost beneficial scheme to re-route the river is available. Roads Service may wish to consider raising the roads locally to help access but it is appreciated that ground conditions pose difficulties. 13.10 To significantly increase the capacity of the system the inter lough and Belleek channels would require major works and subsequent loss of land due to channel widening. Costs of at least £20 million could be anticipated as there are extensive areas of rock in the channel. 13.11 The Structured Debrief itself was worthwhile and all participants engaged in a positive manner. The points made by organisations should assist them in the further development of their emergency arrangements. 33 14. RECOMMENDATIONS Control of Water Levels 14.1 The operating regime, applied within the current legislation should be reviewed by Rivers Agency and ESB to investigate if there is any scope for improvement. 14.2 The performance of the existing regime which has been in place since the 1950s should be reviewed. This will inform the need for a review of the current legislation. 14.3 Any further review of levels must take account of the environmental designation particularly on the Upper Lough. The Upper Lough is a Special Protection Area (SPA) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The Habitats Directive, which is European legislation, applies to SPAs and SACs. The Upper Lough also has nine Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSIs) of which Belleisle, Trannish and Crom are arguably the three most important. The Upper Lough is also a RAMSAR site. 14.4 Any review of levels must also take account of the navigational interests which involve Waterways Ireland, (the responsible authority for navigation within the Erne system). Water based recreation and tourism generate vital income in Fermanagh. Emergency Response 14.5 It is recommended that all organisations involved in the response to and recovery from the flooding in Fermanagh use the lessons learnt from the review to further develop their own emergency planning arrangements. Opportunity should also be taken to further develop contact. 14.6 A structured process should be established to carry out ‘desk top’ exercises every two to three years to ensure that agencies maintain contact and co- ordination arrangements between each other. 34 14.7 Facilities to obtain rainfall information for the whole catchment should be examined. Government Response 14.8 Consideration should be given to establishing an agency to provide a strategic overview to the management of flooding in Northern Ireland particularly in the medium to long term. This agency may also be responsible for ensuring that all agencies and organisations have adequate emergency arrangements and plans in place should a similar flooding event occur in the future as will be required by the Floods Directive within Flood Risk Management Plans. 14.9 Planning Policies restricting developments in the floodplain should be strictly applied to help eliminate the risk of property flooding should a similar event occur in the future. Improvement Works 14.10 Consideration should be given to examining the viability of raising critical roads. 14.11 Rivers Agency and Roads Service should examine whether joint improvements can be made to the Derrychara Link area. Awareness 14.12 Rivers Agency, in conjunction with ESB, should draw up a short brochure explaining how the Erne system works and this should be distributed to schools in Fermanagh. Rivers Agency should also examine opportunities to add to previous presentations they have given on the Erne system to improve public awareness. 35 ANNEX 1 LIST OF PARTICIPANTS AT STRUCTURED DEBRIEF Electricity Supply Board (ESB) Fermanagh District Council (FDC) Flooding Incident Line (FIL) Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) Northern Ireland Water (NIW) Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Rivers Agency (RA) Roads Service (RS) Western Group of Councils - Emergency Planning Co-Ordinator (Western Group EPCO) Western Education and Library Board (WELB) Western Health Trust (WHSCT) In addition although not able, to attend the debrief written comments were received from:- BT (BT) Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) Annexes 2 to 5 record the comments received from different organisations at the structured debrief ANNEX 2 ASPECTS WHICH WORKED WELL PREPARDNESS • Kept water levels at Cliff down at 44.0m AOD for the duration of the flood event (ESB) • Contingency planning to enable operational response to fires and rescues maintained as far as possible during the flooding period (NIFRS) • Draw down of water levels in loughs had already been carried out in preparation (Rivers Agency) • Planning policy PPS15. Although many roads closed and properties had been cut-off, very little properties actually flooded. (Rivers Agency) • Plans in place to closely monitor the weather conditions and numbers of faults caused by flooding. Local incident centre based at Lackaboy Industrial Estate in Enniskillen can be escalated within less than an hour. We also have contact numbers for local boat owners who are agreeable to help if and when required. (NIE) ANNEX 2 cont’d COMMUNICATION • Daily updates, conference calls and allocation of actions (Western Group EPCO) • Regular updates from Roads Service detailing roads closed due to flooding (NIFRS) • Internal communications worked well (WHSCT) • Good communication between all agencies (NIHE) • Prompt communication with Emergency Planning coordination from local council (WELB) • Daily water level updates from Rivers Agency (WELB) • Daily weather forecasts (WELB) • Road service updates (WELB) • Road closure updates from Roads Service (PSNI) • Updates on what roads closed was essential for core business (NIAS) • Updates on the state of the BT network in the Fermanagh area, including information on any cable faults, together with general level of customer fault reports. Joan expressed some concern that as the council was not receiving many telephone calls from the public, there may be a problem with the telephone network. I assured her that this was not the case. (BT) • Participation in a number of conference calls during the flooding and raised a concern about whether or not the telephone exchange in Enniskillen was in danger of flooding. If this had happened, this would have had a potentially catastrophic effect on communications in the Fermanagh area. Happily this did not occur and thanks to an on-site meeting with the Rivers Agency we were able to have reassurance on this important subject. (BT) ANNEX 2 cont’d CO-ORDINATION • Prompt action from Friday 20th. (Western Group EPCO) • Notification and all agencies aware of problems over the weekend prior to Monday 23rd (Western Group EPCO) • Good local knowledge of responding agencies – Rivers Agency, NIFRS and Council (Western Group EPCO) • Cross border liaison with resources in Belturbet, Ballyconnell and Clones (NIFRS) • Lines available 24hours every day to take calls from public, raising incidents then transfer to relevant flooding responding agency (Flooding Incident Line) • No difficulty dealing with volume of calls. 44 incidents recorded in Fermanagh (Flooding Incident Line) • Liaison with NIAS, NIFRS, PSNI and Rivers Agency good (WHSCT) • Willing co-operation of all agencies to share information and participate in conference calls (Fermanagh District Council) • Conference calls were very successful (NIHE) • Provision of water levels and predictions from Rivers Agency to allow pro-active response to events at Killyhevlin Water Treatment Works (NIW) • Notification and coordination and effective action by Emergency Planning group (WELB) • Local knowledge invaluable (WELB) • Daily conference call (WELB) • On site coordination between PSNI, Roads Service and Rivers Agency (WELB) • Daily interagency conference call (PSNI) • Anticipation of daily effects and consequences (PSNI) • Boat deployments in conjunction with NIFRS (PSNI) • Interagency communication and partnership working through daily teleconference (NIAS) ANNEX 2 cont’d RESPONSE • Managed unprecedented discharges through the stations (ESB) • Forward deployment to County Fermanagh of NIFRS specialist rescue team (NIFRS) • In spite of the volume of flooding locations that able to manage to place road signs to the key floods to alert the public to the danger (Roads Service) • Good local knowledge of area staff (Rivers Agency) • Good local knowledge of managers (WHSCT) • Local knowledge was imperative (Fermanagh District Council) • Where a problem had been identified prompt action was taken to try to alleviate the problem. eg pumping at Derrychara Link, Bus depot (Fermanagh District Council) • Staff were prepared to take whatever action was required to assist (NIHE) • Made provision for temporary accommodation for 10 families (NIHE) • Provided permanent accommodation for one family (NIHE) • Contractor put on standby and available if required (NIHE) • Positive action by school principals resulted in net loss of only one school day (WELB) • Community action including parents in Teemore, Lisnaskea, Roslea and Boho (WELB) • NIE had only one fault in Fermanagh which was most likely caused by the flooding. On 23 November 2009 a fault on an underground electricity cable in the Shore Rd area of Enniskillen caused 135 customers to lose supply at 13:25. The most likely cause was water damage. Repairs were completed & supplies restored to 135 customers by 16:00 and remaining three customers by 04:10 on 24 Nov. (NIE) ANNEX 2 cont’d INFORMATION TO THE PUBLIC AND THE PRESS • Number of media requests received many with tight deadlines. RA responded with timely information, tailored to each request. (Rivers Agency) • RA facilitated numerous requests for interviews – TV, radio, press, all while continuing to respond operationally to the actual event (Rivers Agency) • DARD Minister also attended and gave interviews (Rivers Agency) • Traffic watch website was regularly updated with roads deemed impassable (Roads Service) Joint press releases were circulated by Rivers Agency, WHSCT and Fermanagh District Council. ANNEX 3 CHALLENGES PREPAREDNESS • Need to review and be better prepared should one of NIHE housing estates be flooded, - lucky this time (NIHE) • The usefulness of the multi-agency flood plan – Centered around opening rest centre and administration financial assistance scheme. A lot of wider issues than those stipulated within the plan (Western Group EPCO) ANNEX 3 cont’d COMMUNICATION • How to disseminate information internally, lots of info received daily (NIAS) • Not good at alerting other agencies to resources available eg outdoor equipment, Canadian canoes, inflatable’s and trained staff (WELB) • Improve communications, what NIHE can and can’t do. Not everyone knows role and how the NIHE can help and statutory duty to supply temporary housing (NIHE) • Not prompt relaying of information from Hydrometrics (Rivers) • The interaction between BT, the council and Rivers Agency was verbal. A regular short situation report from BT possibly would have been more useful or appropriate. (BT) ANNEX 3 cont’d CO-ORDINATION • Very dependant on local knowledge, over reliance on local contacts with control centre out in Knockbracken, Belfast (NIAS) • Early stages of incident no clear lines of responsibility on who should take lead (PSNI) • No clear contact person for initial alert – Who should it go to internal (WHSCT) • Some confusion with clarity of roles (WHSCT) • Conference pool should have met particularly on the 23/11/09. Although core groups met in council offices there should have been a regular round table meeting of conference pool (Western Group EPCO) • Should have had a central location for a coordination centre. Maybe council / PSNI with maps / internet accessibility. Core groups could then meet at any stage (Western Group EPCO) • Quicker contact with Local Government Division at DOE to ensure council are aware of cost recovery issues eg work men diverted to other duties, as overtime not included (Western Group EPCO) • FIL should have been invited on conference call (Western Group EPCO) ANNEX 3 cont’d RESPONSE • Poor access to 4x4 vehicles. Shogun not effective in floodwaters (PSNI) • Disproportionate reliance upon a small group of officers internally (WELB) • Not many houses were flooded but several cut-off. No specific details of pupils affected, names, location etc (WELB) • Could have had better initial response, mobilisation to address emergency situation never previously encountered at Killyhevlin WTW (NIW) • Accessibility of vehicles – Unable to use vehicles / offers of help because of risks involved. (WHSCT) • Over reliance on a small number of local staff (Rivers) • Limitations on their own vehicles to work in floodwaters (Roads) • Lack of training on staff for boat handling (Roads) • Identification of vulnerable people not carried out until Wednesday 25th (Western Group EPCO) ANNEX 3 cont’d INFORMATION TO THE PUBLIC AND THE PRESS • No press release response / strategy for all agencies (PSNI) • Better promotion of 0300 2000 100 number (FIL) • Dual numbers still in existence with FIL number and individual flooding responders (FIL) • Review ability to respond during the early stages of the flooding period to questions from members of the public on flood related queries that didn’t fall within the remit of NIFRS (NIFRS) • More proactive approach would have helped in regard to public relations / issuing of press statements including cross border eg Cavan was also in flood (ESB) • Knee jerk reaction to queries. For regular queries one statement would have covered all (ESB) • Consider a single website where statements from RA, ESB, Waterways Ireland etc could be uploaded (ESB) • There was some incorrect local understanding in relation to the operation of Lough levels. This could have resulted in some incorrect reporting in the media from uninformed sources. (Rivers) • Only 2 joint press releases issued between Rivers, Roads and WHSCT. Should have been a single multi agency press release made on behalf of the group. (Western Group EPCO) • Council officers should have been out on the ground eg when the food delivery was made to ensure press where aware of the ongoing work of Fermanagh District Council in response to the situation. (Western Group EPCO) • Collective need for multi-agency perspective to ensure public where aware of the extent of the prolonged nature of the floods to ensure public self help (Western Group EPCO) ANNEX 4 IMPROVEMENTS WESTERN GROUP EPCO • Conference pool should have physically met on the 23 November 2009. Core groups met it may have been more productive to organise a regular meeting of larger conference pool • Councils should have been more PR savvy, eg only 2 joint press releases issued. Should have a single multi agency press release / statement. Council PR offices should have been out on the ground, council should have attended delivery of food as they were involved in getting a lot of the background work done • Consideration should be given to the central location for a coordination centre, with sufficient ITC capabilities, maps etc and location for core groups to meet. • Expectations of roles and responsibility of council’s roles. Council participation in Rally Ireland, and various table tops previously gave them a perspective of what resources and actions may be required. • Flooding Incident Line should have been on the conference call ESB • More proactive approach would have helped in regard to public relations / issuing of press statements including cross border • Consider a single website were statements from RA, ESB, Waterways Ireland etc could be uploaded NIFRS • Consider indentifying lead before flooding started ROADS • Better PR. Traders at Quay Road complaining that raising of road was increasing risk of them flooding when not the case FIL • Identify of Government Lead for coordination of widespread flooding ANNEX 4 cont’d • Better and more frequent communication. Develop policy and protocol on cross agency / organisation communication RIVERS • Regular exercises / networking for maintaining contacts established during the flooding WHSCT • Training / increased awareness on roles and responsibilities both internally and externally • Further develop multiagency relationships that have now been established during flooding • Contact numbers need to be more accessible. Both internal leads and multi agency contacts FERMANAGH DISTRICT COUNCIL • Improve PR / Communications • Clarification of roles and responsibilities and expectation of other agencies NIHE • Improve PR / Communications • Clarification of roles and responsibilities • Action taken was reactive. What can some agencies do to be more proactive • What practical work can be done to prevent or minimize the same happening again NIW • Coordinated approach on communication to general public, close down public speculation ANNEX 4 cont’d WELB • Formalisation of the inter agency group for the area along the lines of local resilience forum. This would ensure future emergencies could be responded to effectively PSNI • Communications, with interagency meetings starting earlier in anticipation of the problem NIAS • Early identification of lead agency • Creation of a multi agency control room with maps, communications, IT resources and would allow face to face contact ANNEX 5 LESSONS LEARNT NIAS • Early identification of Lead PSNI • Someone identified to take lead and setup coordination centre NIHE • More proactive role RIVERS • Appreciation of DLO and local knowledge, benefits and cooperation ROADS • Cost implications to raise roads NIFRS • Role of subgroup ESB • Be prepared WESTERN GROUP EPCO • Multi agency PR / Media strategy required to get message to the public ANNEX 6 Tables and Hydrographs Upper Lough Portora Lower Lough Total Discharge Belleisle u/s d/s Roscor Gate state Spilling At Cliff m3/s 1/10/2009 46.02 45.96 45.96 45.90 FO N 2/10/2009 45.97 45.88 45.89 45.83 FO N 3/10/2009 45.92 45.86 45.88 45.80 FO N 4/10/2009 45.90 45.82 45.84 45.78 FO N 5/10/2009 45.88 45.80 45.84 45.77 FO N 6/10/2009 45.82 45.75 45.79 45.68 FO N 7/10/2009 45.78 45.66 45.72 45.62 FO N 8/10/2009 45.81 45.80 45.66 45.53 FC 10.00 N 9/10/2009 45.86 45.87 45.60 45.53 FC N 10/10/2009 45.89 45.88 45.62 45.52 FC N 11/10/2009 45.92 45.90 45.64 45.49 FC N 12/10/2009 45.95 45.93 45.60 45.48 FC N 13/10/2009 45.96 45.95 45.57 45.45 FC N 14/10/2009 45.98 45.97 45.56 45.42 FC1&2,3&4 1'Open N 15/10/2009 45.97 45.92 45.57 45.43 FC1&2,3&4 1'Open N 16/10/2009 45.95 45.92 45.57 45.44 FC1&2,3&4 1'Open N 17/10/2009 45.96 45.91 45.58 45.45 FC1&2,3&4 1'Open N 18/10/2009 45.93 45.91 45.57 45.45 FC1&2,3&4 1'Open N 19/10/2009 45.95 45.93 45.57 45.46 FC1&2,3&4 1'Open N 20/10/2009 45.99 45.98 45.58 45.50 1,2,3,4 Open 2' 12.00 N 21/10/2009 46.02 45.91 45.61 45.52 1,2,3,4 Open 2' N 22/10/2009 46.03 45.92 45.63 45.54 1,2,3,4 open 4' 12.30 N 23/10/2009 46.23 45.87 45.70 45.61 1,2,3,4 open 4' N 24/10/2009 46.23 45.86 45.69 45.65 1,2,3,4 open 4' N 25/10/2009 46.40 46.05 45.83 45.74 FO 10.00 N 26/10/2009 46.40 45.89 45.89 45.80 FO N 27/10/2009 46.37 45.90 45.90 45.87 FO N 28/10/2009 46.37 45.95 45.94 45.87 FO N 29/10/2009 46.35 45.92 45.92 45.86 FO N 30/10/2009 46.31 45.91 45.91 45.86 FO N 31/10/2009 46.47 45.96 45.95 45.87 FO N 1/11/2009 46.50 46.02 46.00 45.88 FO N 2/11/2009 46.76 46.11 46.07 46.01 FO N 3/11/2009 46.82 46.15 46.10 46.03 FO N 4/11/2009 46.95 46.27 46.19 46.14 FO N 5/11/2009 47.11 46.46 46.35 46.26 FO Spilling 227.37 6/11/2009 47.19 46.39 46.29 46.26 FO Spilling 296.63 7/11/2009 47.21 46.42 46.30 46.30 FO Spilling 293.04 8/11/2009 47.21 46.42 46.31 46.28 FO Spilling 317.50 9/11/2009 47.19 46.35 46.25 46.24 FO Spilling 310.46 10/11/2009 47.22 46.36 46.27 46.21 FO Spilling 306.15 11/11/2009 47.19 46.32 46.23 46.17 FO Spilling 291.58 12/11/2009 47.17 46.29 46.21 46.15 FO Spilling 298.23 13/11/2009 47.25 46.30 46.21 46.15 FO Spilling 295.80 14/11/2009 47.24 46.32 46.23 46.14 FO Spilling 294.65 15/11/2009 47.29 46.29 46.20 46.13 FO Spilling 293.86 16/11/2009 47.30 46.30 46.21 46.14 FO Spilling 299.02 17/11/2009 47.42 46.40 46.29 46.24 FO Spilling 310.36 18/11/2009 47.52 46.44 46.33 46.27 FO Spilling 314.73 19/11/2009 47.69 46.50 46.36 46.31 FO Spilling 313.33 20/11/2009 47.93 46.60 46.45 46.37 FO Spilling 334.95 21/11/2009 48.03 46.61 46.45 46.44 FO Spilling 336.65 22/11/2009 48.08 46.64 46.48 46.47 FO Spilling 353.21 23/11/2009 48.15 46.76 46.58 46.55 FO Spilling 355.17 24/11/2009 48.19 46.82 46.62 46.62 FO Spilling 377.13 25/11/2009 48.25 46.90 46.69 46.68 FO Spilling 377.50 26/11/2009 48.27 46.92 46.71 46.72 FO Spilling 374.90 27/11/2009 48.24 46.93 46.72 46.73 FO Spilling 386.60 28/11/2009 48.21 46.92 46.71 46.73 FO Spilling 375.80 29/11/2009 48.14 46.92 46.71 46.71 FO Spilling 372.80 30/11/2009 48.06 46.86 46.67 46.67 FO Spilling 368.20 1/12/2009 48.01 46.79 46.60 46.65 FO Spilling 365.20 2/12/2009 47.97 46.77 46.59 46.61 FO Spilling 357.30 3/12/2009 47.85 46.72 46.56 46.55 FO Spilling 353.10 4/12/2009 47.76 46.66 46.51 46.52 FO Spilling 346.40 5/12/2009 47.72 46.64 46.49 46.48 FO Spilling 344.30 6/12/2009 47.76 46.60 46.46 46.47 FO Spilling 342.30 7/12/2009 47.69 46.60 46.45 46.45 FO Spilling 339.90 8/12/2009 47.62 46.54 46.41 46.42 FO Spilling 336.10 9/12/2009 47.56 46.51 46.38 46.37 FO Spilling 329.50 10/12/2009 47.47 46.47 46.35 46.33 FO Spilling 327.30 11/12/2009 47.36 46.42 46.31 46.27 FO Spilling 317.00 12/12/2009 47.24 46.34 46.25 46.20 FO Spilling 308.70 13/12/2009 47.13 46.28 46.20 46.13 FO Spilling 292.10 14/12/2009 47.02 46.22 46.15 46.05 FO Spilling 283.10 15/12/2009 46.91 46.13 46.08 45.99 FO Spilling Stopped 9.00 @ 229.40 16/12/2009 46.80 46.09 46.05 45.97 FO 17/12/2009 46.69 46.06 46.03 45.94 FO LEGEND 18/12/2009 46.60 46.01 45.98 45.91 FO FO = FULLY OPEN FC = FULLY CLOSED TABLE 1 - LOUGH LEVELS, GATE STATE AND DISCHARGE AT CLIFF 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 JAN 182.70 86.30 143.30 109.20 82.00 146.50 140.40 167.80 73.90 33.00 139.90 FEB 118.70 105.40 208.50 56.30 92.30 31.70 107.60 132.50 132.60 136.10 68.80 MAR 143.60 140.40 72.80 127.60 139.30 70.40 155.30 135.60 49.70 48.90 73.70 APR 36.20 100.90 71.50 122.00 108.70 126.10 103.20 33.10 55.90 50.50 91.50 MAY 66.30 32.00 47.60 8.70 43.80 79.20 39.60 69.80 58.00 76.90 46.10 JUN 33.60 33.50 133.80 99.40 30.90 79.10 67.40 26.40 59.80 97.30 125.30 JUL 172.00 28.70 50.80 65.60 89.70 125.70 77.20 89.10 86.90 100.20 114.60 AUG 126.00 100.80 115.10 35.90 195.90 75.70 72.10 7.20 128.80 73.80 92.30 SEP 125.00 59.20 53.90 51.60 80.70 79.20 71.30 80.10 48.90 49.50 85.30 OCT 122.20 145.60 204.50 93.50 90.10 17.00 53.20 193.30 158.80 90.00 174.30 NOV 49.10 55.90 67.00 141.90 158.20 46.80 90.90 137.40 123.00 98.90 147.30 DEC 92.30 74.40 134.00 164.10 89.80 222.00 152.80 52.50 63.20 138.20 103.30 TOTAL 1267.70 963.10 1302.80 1075.80 1201.40 1099.40 1131.00 1124.80 1039.50 993.30 1262.40 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Average JAN 154.10 74.50 90.40 138.70 91.60 101.40 149.20 59.00 159.80 175.80 130.00 119.52 FEB 86.80 136.70 55.80 235.80 75.80 47.00 44.60 33.60 77.20 56.60 34.30 94.30 MAR 62.00 69.80 64.90 89.90 67.80 74.60 77.60 110.20 75.00 142.00 79.80 94.13 APR 94.10 105.20 93.20 106.60 61.60 68.30 93.00 60.60 51.60 63.00 113.00 82.26 MAY 65.20 60.30 60.90 163.80 122.00 48.40 99.60 135.20 80.70 19.60 107.50 69.60 JUN 64.30 48.90 64.60 120.80 87.90 113.30 54.80 30.00 78.50 72.20 34.00 70.72 JUL 55.70 62.50 66.10 78.50 101.40 90.90 37.20 61.00 144.90 97.40 106.80 86.50 AUG 112.40 116.10 109.90 50.60 18.00 67.60 87.40 74.60 73.40 158.60 188.60 94.58 SEP 130.10 115.70 54.80 46.90 71.90 83.40 88.20 128.40 54.00 106.00 48.60 77.85 OCT 36.30 177.30 89.00 204.30 39.90 114.00 111.10 128.40 60.00 156.20 125.00 117.45 NOV 126.90 134.90 74.10 155.10 117.20 53.80 61.20 97.40 53.60 54.60 226.40 103.25 DEC 247.20 121.90 92.40 95.40 80.00 100.30 84.60 162.50 114.40 71.20 56.20 114.21 TOTAL 1235.10 1223.80 916.10 1486.40 935.10 963.00 988.50 1080.90 1023.10 1173.20 1250.20 1124.39 TABLE 2 - YEARLY RECORD OF RAINFALL SINCE 1988 Point D Point B Point A Point C HYDROGRAPH 1 - UPPER LOUGH LEVELS FROM JULY 09 Point E Point A Point C Point B Point D HYDROGRAPH 2 - LOWER LOUGH LEVELS FROM JULY 09 ANNEX 7 Photographs PHOTO 3 – Property cut-off in Upper Lough PHOTO 4 – Road flooding near Lisnaskea PHOTO 5 – Flooding at Share Centre, Lisnaskea PHOTO 6 – Inter lough channel at Bellanaleck el Chann gh r lou Inte PHOTO 7 – Line of Inter lough Channel PHOTO 8 – Flooded roadway, Derrychara Link PHOTO 9 – Flooding at Enniskillen PHOTO 10 – Belleek channel PHOTO 11 – Power station and spillway at Cliff PHOTO 12 – Sluice gate spillway at Ballyshannon If you would like further copies or require copies in an alternative format please contact: Civil Contingencies Policy Branch Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister Block A5.02 Castle Buildings Stormont Estate Belfast BT4 3SR Tel 028 9052 8642 / 3 Fax 028 9052 8630 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Website www.ofmdfmni.gov.uk/emergencies
"FLOODING TASKFORCE Office of the First Minister and Deputy"