Stella’s Sandbags

Stella's Sandbags 4

If you’ve passed by Stella Gardens recently you’ll have noticed a significant crack in the Dodder flood wall. With the recent flooding, this has led to water seeping through. As a result, the council has installed sandbags to defend the area from further flooding.

Last year Dublin City Council established the Flood Assessment Group (FLAG) as part of its Emergency Flood Plan. In preparation of the high astronomical tides predicted for early January, FLAG held a meeting on December 18th of last year at which measures were decided on to deal with the coming crisis.

At 3.014 metres, the tide level of January 3rd was the highest ever recorded in the area and overtopped the quays. As a result, sandbags were required not just at Stella Gardens but also Sandymount’s Strand Road, Fitzwilliam Quay and Clontarf Road.

Fortunately, several factors meant damage was considerably less than the council initially feared. Flooding would have been a far worse problem had the wind blown from an easterly direction. Thanks to the southern direction of the wind, damage was alleviated, as the wind acted as a natural barrier to the incoming high tide. The recent lack of rainfall was instrumental in preventing an overflowing of sewers.

In February 2002, €60 million of damage was incurred when over 1,200 properties were flooded. This led to Dublin City Council (DCC) investing heavily in flood defences over the past decade, an investment now vindicated. The recent tides were considerably higher than those of 2002, yet damage was minimal in comparison, with DCC estimating a cost of €100,000.

According to Michael Phillips, city engineer for DCC, there is still further work required to strengthen coastal areas of the city against the threat of flooding. “While the temporary flood defence measures proved effective on this occasion, it would be foolish to believe that this is a sustainable solution,” he says. “At some stage either our predictions regarding the tidal height will be proved wrong or the temporary measures will be overcome by a combination of high tide, low pressure, wind speed/direction and rainfall. A more sustainable solution is urgently required if the flooding risk is to be mitigated.”

Above: Crack in the flood wall along the Dodder.
Below: Sandbags at Stella Gardens.

By Eric Hillis