Clean up operation after flood

Flood at Moss Lane
Flood at Moss Lane

Aghalee residents living close to Lough Neagh were getting ready for a massive clean up operation, after their homes were submerged in over a foot of water, last week.

The flooding was largely blamed on the high levels of water at the lough which reached a 30 year high.

At a Stormont Committee this week, the head of the Rivers Agency David Porter said dredging would have made little difference to flooding around Lough Neagh.

He said the levels of the lough and that the volume of water flowing into it was five times that which could flow out.

He blamed three winter storms in quick succession in December which led to an unprecedented rainfall and said it was not possible to provide an engineering solution to flooding.

The levels of the lough were set in the 50s and reviewed in the 70s. Mr Porter said that the current levels, he believed, were the best compromise.

He added that, in the future, homes and businesses may have to assess the risk and adapt to cope with it.

“If the climate change predications are true then we’re fighting a losing battle,” he said

One couple at Moss Road, who experienced flooding of ‘biblical proportions,’ when their bungalow became an island. Their large garden was submerged in around a foot of water.

Despite dozens of sand bags outside their bungalow, the levels of water were still dangerously close from getting in.

As their septic tank was also flooded, the couple also hired a portaloo.

When the Rivers Agency arrived they spent many long hours pumping water out of the garden.

The woman explained. “It was really hairy. Our fear was it was going to get into the house. Thankfully that did not happen. The Rivers Agency went above and beyond the call of duty. They helped us a lot. They were great.

“The level of water was just a half a foot from getting into our house though.

“We never expected it to be just this bad. We were aware there was a risk of flooding but not on this scale.

“As someone who was in the same predicament said - you know its bad when a swan flies past your window,” she laughed.