One of the Largest Ever River Channel Surveys in Europe Continues into 2013

Overview of CFRAM

The Office of Public Works’ (OPW) National Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) programme is central to a long-term strategy for the reduction and management of flood risk in Ireland. The programme delivers on the core components of the National Flood Policy and the EU Floods Directive. OPW is the lead agency on the programme and is working closely with local authorities nationwide.

Murphy Surveys was selected as one of the companies to undertake surveying for CFRAM, which is one of the largest river channel surveys ever undertaken in Europe. The project covers an area of almost 54,000km2, and consists of over 37,300 river sections, totalling 4190km in length.


The programme consists of three phases: Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment (2011), CFRAM Studies and Parallel Activities (2011 – 2015), and Implementation and Review (2016 onwards). Flood hazard mapping is due to be completed this year, and the flood risk management plans in 2015. Methodology includes the collection of survey data, and the assembly and analysis of meteorological, hydrological and tidal data, which will be used to develop a suit of hydraulic computer models and flood maps. Since the programme commenced in 2011, Murphy Surveys has been providing data collection, surveying, flood risk reviews, hydrology analysis, hydraulic modelling, flood mapping, strategic environmental assessments, and flood risk management options.


Surveys are undertaken in cross- and long- sections (x, y, z spatial coordinates) on river channels and banks, channel structures (bridges, weirs, sluices), and flood defences (walls, embankments). This data is used for the development of hydraulic models of the river systems, which are essential for the assessment of flood levels, extents, hazards and risks, and for the development of measures to manage such risks.

The projects have resulted in the employment of an additional 50 qualified surveyors and technical staff at Murphy Surveys since November 2011. CFRAM requires the coordination of several specialist hydrographic survey teams in the field, in challenging and sometimes dangerous environmental conditions, as well as liaison with landowners to gain access to private property. Murphy Surveys was the first surveying company to achieve the Safe-T certificate in recognition of excellent standards of health and safety, and these strict standards are applied in the hazardous CFRAM environments. Efficient management and co-ordination of all teams and the acquired survey data is crucial. Field-based teams transfer the data to the office on a daily basis, where a team of CAD and GIS professionals then manage and process it for delivery.

To date Murphy Surveys has successfully completed six CFRAM contracts, and is currently working on three contracts that are due to be completed mid 2013.

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