Climate Change and Adaptation

Minister O’Donovan addresses the National Hydrology Conference in Athlone

Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, Mr. Patrick O’Donovan, T.D., will today open the 23rd annual National Hydrology Conference in Athlone. This event is organised by the joint Irish National Committees of the UNESCO International Hydrological Programme and the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage. It is Ireland’s leading conference devoted to Hydrology, providing a unique forum for attendees to share policy developments, research results, and practical solutions to engineering hydrology issues.

This year’s conference theme – ‘Climate Change and Adaptation’ – aligns closely with the aims of COP27, which continues in Sharm El Sheikh this week, in addressing issues relating to building resilience and adapting to the inevitable impacts of climate change. Today’s conference provides a platform for showcasing the science being used to quantify the expected effects of climate change in Ireland. This evidence base is necessary for a clear and targeted approach to climate adaptation over the coming years. The conference also deals with a range of important cross-cutting themes, including environmental hydrology, remote sensing, the future of water quality, flood risk management, and climate monitoring.

Addressing the conference delegates, Minister O’Donovan will give an overview of the lead role of the Office of Public Works in the area of Flood Risk Management and future planned work in the associated fields of coastal change and climate adaptation.

Minister O’Donovan will say: “This conference plays a vital role in providing a forum for presenting hydrological research and as a focal point for those wishing to advance their knowledge of both Irish and international hydrology. As an island nation, it is vital that we fully understand the range of behaviours of Irish catchments and their sometimes complicated hydrology.”

He will say: “The OPW’s expertise in hydrology will be needed for the successful delivery of state-of-the-art flood relief schemes, climate change adaptation, flood estimation techniques, flood forecasting, river restoration, and natural flood retention measures. Our organisation is committed to working closely with our partners in the Environmental Protection Agency, Met Éireann, Geological Survey Ireland, Inland Fisheries Ireland and the National Parks and Wildlife Service amongst others to deliver key projects that address flood risk in Ireland and protect people, homes, businesses and communities.”