Flood analysis of the clare river catchment considering traditional factors and climate change
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The main objective of this thesis on flooding was to produce a detailed report on flooding with specific reference to the Clare River catchment. Past flooding in the Clare River catchment was assessed with specific reference to the November 2009 flood event. A Geographic Information System was used to produce a graphical representation of the spatial distribution of the November 2009 flood. Flood risk is prominent within the Clare River catchment especially in the region of Claregalway. The recent flooding events of November 2009 produced significant fluvial flooding from the Clare River. This resulted in considerable flood damage to property. There were also hidden costs such as the economic impact of the closing of the N17 until floodwater subsided. Land use and channel conditions are traditional factors that have long been recognised for their effect on flooding processes. These factors were examined in the context of the Clare River catchment to determine if they had any significant effect on flood flows. Climate change has become recognised as a factor that may produce more significant and frequent flood events in the future. Many experts feel that climate change will result in an increase in the intensity and duration of rainfall in western Ireland. This would have significant implications for the Clare River catchment, which is already vulnerable to flooding. Flood estimation techniques are a key aspect in understanding and preparing for flood events. This study uses methods based on the statistical analysis of recorded data and methods based on a design rainstorm and rainfall-runoff model to estimate flood flows. These provide a mathematical basis to evaluate the impacts of various factors on flooding and also to generate practical design floods, which can be used in the design of flood relief measures. The final element of the thesis includes the author’s recommendations on how flood risk management techniques can reduce existing flood risk in the Clare River catchment. Future implications to flood risk due to factors such as climate change and poor planning practices are also considered.
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