Na Dúnaibh (Downings) Flood Relief Scheme
Na Dúnaibh (Downings) is a village located on the Rosguill Peninsula in the north of County Donegal. The village is within a Gaeltacht area and is a popular holiday destination.
A small catchment drains through the village known locally as the Rosapenna Stream. It drains from the hills overlooking the village and flows into the sea at Na Dúnaibh beach. This blue flag beach is relatively sheltered as it faces south west out into Sheephaven Bay and is a popular spot for windsurfers. Na Dúnaibh is susceptible to both fluvial flooding from the Rosapenna Stream and from coastal flooding.
As part of the Government’s National Development Plan 2018-2027, €1 billion has been committed to the development of flood relief measures across Ireland. As part of this commitment, a steering group was established between the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Donegal County Council to progress a flood relief scheme to alleviate the risk of flooding for Na Dúnaibh. In July 2020, RPS were appointed Engineering and Environmental Consultants to develop a flood relief scheme that is technically, socially, environmentally and economically acceptable for Na Dúnaibh.
There have been a number of reported flooding incidents at Na Dúnaibh in 2011 and 2012. Flooding has affected the Beach Hotel Caravan Park and a number of local roads, including the R238. Flooding is believed to have been caused by heavy rainfall leading to the Rosapenna Stream bursting its banks. High coastal water levels may have contributed to the flooding at Na Dúnaibh.
To address flooding issues nationally, the Office of Public Works (OPW) commissioned and completed Catchment and Flood Risk Management (CFRAM) studies covering the entire country. The North Western – Neagh Bann CFRAM Study was completed with support from Donegal County Council. An output of the study identified flood risk areas, including Na Dúnaibh, and the associated impacts of flooding. The Study also prepared Flood Risk Management Plans which set out the measures and policies to be pursued in order to achieve the most cost effective and sustainable management of flood risk.
RPS are appointed to complete a detailed project level engineering assessment for Na Dúnaibh. The assessment will involve identification of appropriate flood risk alleviation measures and preparation of detailed design drawings and documents. Once complete, this body of work will facilitate submission of a planning application as per the Planning and Development Act (2000), the Planning and Development Regulations (2001) and subsequent construction of the scheme. As part of the Scheme Development process RPS will carry out a Natura Impact Statement and Environmental Impact Assessment Report, where required under the relevant legislation.