Climate Change Sectoral Adaptation Plan


The first Climate Change Sectoral Adaptation Plan for Flood Risk Management was produced by the OPW in 2015 under the mandate of the National Climate Change Adaptation Framework (DECLG 2012). A new Plan has been prepared in 2019 under the National Adaptation Framework (DCCAE, 2018), and as a key action under the Climate Action Plan 2019, and updates the 2015 Plan taking into account new information available on climate change and its potential impacts and developments in flood risk management since 2015.



Flooding is a natural process that can happen at any time in a wide variety of locations, but is a significant risk to people, the economy and our environment and cultural heritage. It is likely that climate change will have a significant impact on flood risk in Ireland.

  • Accelerated sea level rise is being observed and is projected to continue to rise into the future, increasing risk to our coastal communities and assets.
  • It is projected that the number of heavy rainfall days per year will increase, which would lead to an increase in both fluvial and pluvial (urban storm water) flood risk.
  • The projected wetter winters, particularly in the West of the country, could give rise to increased groundwater flood risk associated with turloughs.

These potential impacts could have serious consequences for Ireland, where all of the large cities are on the coast and many of the main towns are on the coast or beside rivers.



This Plan sets out a long-term goal for adaptation in flood risk management, along with a set of objectives and adaptation actions aimed at achieving those objectives. The long-term goal adopted by the OPW on climate adaptation for flooding and flood risk management is:

“Promoting sustainable communities and supporting our environment through the effective management of the potential impacts of climate change on flooding and flood risk.”

To deliver on this goal, the OPW has identified the following adaptation objectives:

  • Objective 1: Enhancing our knowledge and understanding of the potential impacts of climate change for flooding and flood risk management through research and assessment
  • Objective 2: Adapting flood risk management practice to effectively manage the potential impact of climate change on future flood risk
  • Objective 3: Aligning adaptation to the impact of climate change on flood risk and flood risk management across sectors and wider Government policy

A number of actions have been identified under each adaptation objective across the areas of activity in flood risk prevention, protection and preparedness and resilience, as well as in further research and capacity building. Flooding has the potential to affect all sectors and local authorities, and coordination is critical towards ensuring a coherent and whole of government approach to climate resilience in relation to flooding and flood risk management.

A screening and determination has been made in relation to Strategic Environmental Assessment, and a screening has been undertaken and a statement prepared with regards to appropriate assessment under the Habitats and Birds Directive.