18 Aug 2022

Watch: Infrastructure Minister John O'Dowd in Derry

'No easy solution to deal with flooding' - Minister John O'Dowd

Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd has said there is no easy solution to deal with flooding on the scale seen in Derry and the North West over the last number of years.

Minister O'Dowd was speaking following visits to parts of Derry and Strabane badly affected by the weekend flooding. Mr O'Dowd met with residents and business owners in Drumahoe and Eglinton and Ballycoleman Estate.

At least 30 to 40 homes are known to have internally flooded at the weekend, with up to 300 homes in total being assessed to determine if they were impacted when 70mm of rain fell in just five hours on Saturday,23 July.

Asked if the water / flood infrastructure in Derry and the North West was fit for purpose in light of the weekend's events and what improvements needed to be made and when, Minister O'Dowd said: “In many instances we are dealing with historical infrastructure and we are also dealing with historical decisions.

“If you were making planning decisions today, there are some areas you would not build houses in, particularly in floodplains, so decisions made 20 years ago, I am dealing with now, my colleagues are dealing with the consequences of.

“So, there may be engineering solutions in some places. We are investigating those. We have to have detailed design drawings and then we have to seek the budget for those. In other areas there will be other considerations taken into place.

“I am very keen on community resilience groups, where local communities working with my officials and other officials, assist in preventing the flooding of homes. There are a number of solutions which need to take place but there is no easy solution that deals with flooding on the scale we have seen over this last number of years.”

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