Work will begin today on interim measures to prevent a recurrence of flooding at a Strabane housing estate.
Extensive damage was caused when floods swept through Ballycolman estate in Strabane as well as others areas of the north west in Derry and Eglinton last month. Six people had to be rescued by Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Services during the floods.
In a visit to Ballycolman yesterday, Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd said work on the interim measures would take up to six weeks to complete.
The defences will involve changes to roads outside affected properties to allow surface water to run off into adjacent sports grounds.
The minister told residents work on the interim measures had been delayed due to a legal issue with Derry and Strabane council.
Mr O’Dowd told residents yesterday: “I am pleased to confirm that appropriate legal agreements are now in place and work is getting underway on the interim scheme which will considerably reduce the risk of in-house flooding to properties at Ballycolman.”
The minister said he recognised the need to introduce a viable longer-term solution as soon as possible to reduce the impact of further flood.
“That is why my department is taking forward, where possible, a number of flood alleviation proposals in various locations across the north, including Drumahoe, Eglinton and Derry city,” he said.
Mr O’Dowd hoped the new measures would provide protection for major floods, described as “one in 100 year events”.
While they welcomed the start of work on interim defences, Ballycolman residents said only time would tell if they would be successful.