Rivers Agency - an overview

Part of: DfI management and structure

The aim of the Agency is to reduce the risk to life and damage to property from flooding from rivers and the sea and to undertake watercourse and coastal flood management in a sustainable manner.

Our vision is to manage flood risk to facilitate the social, economic and environmental development of Northern Ireland.

To achieve our aim and vision, we will take forward the delivery of flood risk management in accordance with 'Living with Rivers and the Sea'. This is the Government’s Response to the Independent Flood Management Policy Review (2008).

Please inform us if you have any feedback or contact us if you require more information. 

Vision and aims

Vision

The Agency’s vision is to manage the flood risk to facilitate the social, economic and environmental development of Northern Ireland.

Aims

To support the vision the Agency aims:

  • to reduce the risk to life and the damage to property from flooding from rivers and the sea
  • to undertake watercourse and coastal flood management in a sustainable manner

Objectives

In support of these aims the Agency's objectives are to:

  • to deliver sustainable flood risk management policies to meet society’s social, environmental and economic needs
  • to implement the requirements of the European Directive for the assessment and management of flood risks
  • to reduce the number of properties currently at risk of flooding from rivers and the sea
  • to maintain flood defence and drainage infrastructure in a satisfactory condition
  • to operate to resource limits
  • to support and motivate all our people to achieve the Agency’s objectives
  • to deliver quality services for our customers and stakeholders in a fair and equitable way

Statutory authority

The powers delegated to the Rivers Agency by the Department of Agricultural and Rural Development as the statutory Drainage and Flood Defence authority for Northern Ireland derive from the Drainage (NI) Order 1973 as amended.

Enabling legislation

The Drainage (Northern Ireland) Order 1973 - the legislative basis for carrying out watercourse maintenance work and flood defence schemes.

The Lough Neagh and Lower Bann Drainage and Navigation Act (Northern Ireland) 1955 - sets the statutory duty to regulate the levels of the Lough within prescribed limits as far as weather permits. 

The Lough Neagh Drainage (Amendment) Act 1970 - extended the Department's obligation to take account of other interests with regard to Lough level management.

The Drainage (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 - applies to all drainage and flood defence proposals and ensures an assessment of the environmental impact and public consultation on all drainage works and schemes. 

The Drainage (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 2005 - gives the Department two new powers namely:

  • a power to make orders to dissolve drainage trusts
  • a power to make regulations to charge for drainage infrastructure works to facilitate development

The Drainage Trusts (Dissolution) Order (Northern Ireland) 2006 - dissolves the drainage trusts listed in the schedule and extinguishes all rights, duties, obligations, and liabilities arising under the trusts.  The Order also provides for the department to dispose of any property forming part of the trusts and to put the funds to the Consolidated Fund.

Other relevant legislation

The Water (Northern Ireland) Order 1999 - requires the Department to have regard for environmental factors when carrying out functions under Drainage Legislation.

Rivers Agency Board

Rivers Agency is headed by a Chief Executive and a Board of Directors which spans four Directorates – Operations, Engineering, Development and Corporate Services. The Agency Board ensures that the Agency carries out its statutory functions and activities, which are governed by primary legislation and regulations.

The Chief Executive of the Agency is also the Agency Accounting Officer and is responsible for the financial management of the Agency’s resources within budgets and protocols set by Government. 

Chief Executive - David Porter

David is currently the Chief Executive of Rivers Agency, the flood defence and drainage authority for Northern Ireland. The Agency is responsible for river and sea defence maintenance, the construction of flood alleviation schemes, the provision of flood maps and risk information and it carries out the role of Lead Government Department for flood emergency events throughout Northern Ireland.

Previously David has been the Director of Development and the Director of Operations with Rivers Agency and has also worked for Roads Service. David is a graduate of both Queen's University Belfast and the Ulster University and is a Chartered Civil Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers. He is a very active member of the Institution's Northern Ireland Region where he holds the position of Chairman, and is also the Northern Ireland representative on Council.

Operations Directorate - Owen McGivern

Owen was appointed Director of Operations in April 2015.
Owen is a graduate of Queen's University Belfast, a Chartered Civil Engineer and a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers. He hold a Masters in Environmental Engineering.

Owen joined Rivers Agency in 2005. He has managed the In-house Design Unit and was Eastern Regional Engineer with responsibility for the Lisburn, Greater Belfast Area and Armagh Offices. He has also managed the Agency's Capital Procurement Unit.

Prior to joining Rivers Agency he worked for NIW.

Engineering Directorate - Pat Aldridge

Pat was appointed Director of Development in December 2008.

Following restructuring in 2009, Pat assumed responsibility for the Engineering Directorate in December 2009. Pat is a graduate of Queens University Belfast, a Chartered Civil Engineer, a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and a Member of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Managers. He also holds a Masters in Business Administration.

His public sector experience includes employment with Roads Service and Construction Service before joining the Agency in 1987.

Director of Development - Jonathan McKee

Jonathan was appointed Director of Business Development in June 2014.

Jonathan is a graduate of the University of Ulster, a Chartered Civil Engineer and a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers. He has a breadth of experience that includes working for Northern Ireland Water from 1991-2005 in thedesign and supervision of Capital Works Projects.

He joined the Agency in 2005 and has been an Area Engineer, Regional Engineer and Head of the Agency's Operational Support Unit.

Corporate Services Directorate - Shaun Donnelly

Shaun was appointed Corporate Services Director in June 2013.
A graduate of Queens University Belfast and a Chartered Accountant, Shaun has finance experience in both the public and private sector.

Rivers Agency Directorates

The Agency is headed is by a Chief Executive and supported by four directorates:

  • Operations Directorate
  • Engineering Directorate
  • Development Directorate
  • Corporate Services

Operations Directorate

There are three units within the Operations Directorate. They are:

Operations Support Unit

This unit provides Health and Safety, Environmental and Emergency Planning support to the Agency. It is based at Hydebank and delivers the following:

  • policy development and the provision of information, advice and training with regard to:
    • health and safety,
    • the environment,
    • emergency planning.
  • representing the Agency with regard to implementation of the Water Framework Directive

Eastern Region

This unit maintains and protects the river drainage network across the Agency’s Armagh, Lisburn and Greater Belfast Areas. With headquarters in Lisburn, this regional unit has the following key functions:

  • maintenance of a network of free flowing watercourses to provide adequate outlets for urban storm and land drainage
  • maintenance of flood and sea defences
  • identifying flood risks and undertaking minor works to repair and construct urban flood defences, culverts and provide drainage infrastructure
  • administering advisory and enforcement procedures to protect the drainage function of all rivers
  • provision of a fast and effective flood emergency response with a view to mitigating any threat to life or property
  • advising Planning Service on river drainage aspects of Planning Applications, applying principles of Planning Policy Statement 15 “Development and Flood Risk”
  • responding to complaints and enquiries
  • maintenance, improvement and creation of water based recreational facilities under a Service Level Agreement with Department of Culture and Leisure
  • utilising available resources to maintain the effectiveness of the Agency’s assets during periods of adverse weather and threat to life and property from flooding. Responding where possible to requests for assistance from the public whose property has suffered or is threatened by flooding. Liaising with other statutory and public bodies to provide an effective response to flooding or threat of flooding

Western Region

This unit maintains and protects the designated watercourse network across the Agency’s Omagh and Coleraine Areas plus the Fermanagh Sub-Area with a headquarters in Omagh. This regional unit has the following key functions:

  • maintenance of a network of free flowing designated watercourses to provide adequate outlets for urban storm and land drainage
  • maintenance of flood and sea defences
  • identifying flood risks and undertaking minor works to repair and construct urban flood defences, culverts and provide drainage infrastructure
  • administering advisory and enforcement procedures to protect the drainage function of all rivers, Utilising available resources to maintain the effectiveness of the Agency’s assets during periods of adverse weather and threat to life and property from flooding. Responding where possible to requests for assistance from the public whose property has suffered or is threatened by flooding. Liaising with other statutory and public bodies to provide an effective response to flooding or threat of flooding
  • advising Planning Service on river drainage aspects of Planning Applications, applying principles of Planning Policy Statement 15 “Development and Flood Risk”
  • responding to complaints and enquiries
  • regulation of water levels on Lough Neagh and Lough Erne
  • management of the Lough Erne estate
  • purchasing and maintenance of plant ,vehicles and equipment
  • provision and maintenance of store facilities
  • maintenance, improvement and creation of water based recreational facilities under a Service Level Agreement with Department of Culture and Leisure

Engineering Directorate

There are three units within the Engineering Directorate. They are:

Asset Management Unit

This unit provides hydrometric support across the Agency and also oversees the management of the Agency’s flood defence assets. It is based at Hydebank and delivers the following:

  • operation and maintenance of the Northern Ireland surface water network to collect and provide water level and river flow data
  • establishment and monitoring of Asset Management Plans for flood defences

Capital Procurement Unit

This unit reduces the risk of flooding by identifying flood risks and executing viable river engineering works to minimise such risks. It is based at Hydebank and consists of two sections, Capital Procurement, which carries out its functions through a framework of Civil Engineering Consultants, and Design Section which undertakes design and construction supervision of schemes via an in-house team of staff. A prioritised programme of schemes is delivered under the following headings:

  • repair and construction of urban flood and sea defences
  • repair and construction of culverts
  • construction of drainage infrastructure to facilitate new development

Planning Advisory Unit (PAU)

This unit is based in Craigavon, provides advice to Planning Service on the drainage/flood risk aspects of Development Plans and planning applications commensurate with the need to prevent inappropriate and unsustainable development. The unit has key functions as follows:

  • advising Planning Service on inappropriate development in floodplains or elsewhere to avert any increase in risk to life and damage to property through flooding (PPS 15 Planning and Flood Risk refers)
  • river modelling in support of floodplain identification and protection
  • carrying out drainage impact assessments in relation to lands zoned for development in Area Plans
  • scrutiny of flood risk assessments submitted by developers as part of planning applications
  • acting as key contact with the Planning Service in relation to matters concerning flood risk and land use planning
  • input to the Working Party dealing with the emerging SUDS (Sustainable Drainage Systems) policy for Northern Ireland

Development Directorate

There are three units within the Development Directorate. They are:

Bill Team

This unit is based in Hydebank, and is responisible for creating new bills for the Northern Ireland Assembly to approve before coming legislation.

Strategic Planning Unit

This is based at Hydebank, Belfast and co-ordinates and contributes to the implementation of the Floods Directive in terms of the following elements:

  • preliminary flood risk assessments
  • communication with the public and engagement of stakeholders
  • transposition led by corporate services
  • mapping led by asset management
  • programme management 

Mapping and Modelling Unit

This unit develops and provides map based information to enable the communication, assessment and sharing of flood risks. It also oversees the management of the Agency’s flood defence assets. It is based at Hydebank and delivers the following:

  • flood risk mapping in support of the Floods Directive
  • management of the Agency’s LiDAR survey programme
  • coordination of flood data aollection
  • development, procurement and support of Agency’s GIS business solutions

The Corporate Services Directorate

The Directorate provides guidance to formulate and implement Rivers Agency policies. It ensures proper communications between Rivers Agency and its customers, other Agencies, Departments and Ministers, and enables financial planning control and accountability for the Agency.  The Directorate also provides comprehensive administrative, legislative, financial, training and development, human resources and IT support services.

Corporate Services Directorate consists of five sections:

  • Communications
  • Corporate Support
  • Finance
  • Information Technology
  • Policy and Legislation

Annual reports and accounts

The Rivers Agency is an Executive Agency within the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development since 1 April 1998 and is the statutory drainage and flood protection authority for Northern Ireland.

In carrying out its remit, the Agency is subject to the overall direction of the Minister with responsibility for the Department. The annual reports and accounts details the progress the Rivers Agency made for each financial year.

Business Plans

The Corporate Plan sets Rivers Agency agenda for the next five years of the Agency’s life, while the Rivers Agency Business Plans focus on the Agency’s priorities and targets for the year ahead.

Contact Rivers Agency

The appropriate Rivers Agency office can be contacted by telephone, in writing or by email. If you have a complaint, Rivers Agency has customer service standards in place which includes a complaints procedure.

Rivers Agency Headquarters

Rivers Agency HQ
Hydebank
4 Hospital Road
Ballydollaghan
Belfast
BT8 8JP

Tel: 028 9025 3355
Fax: 028 9025 3455
Email:  rivers.registry@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

Greater Belfast area

District council areas covered by this office:

  • Belfast
  • Carrickfergus,
  • Castlereagh
  • Lisburn,
  • Newtownabbey
  • North Down 
Rivers Agency Greater Belfast Area
Ravarnet House
Altona Road
Largymore
Lisburn
BT27 5QB

Tel: 028 9260 6100
Fax: 028 9260 6111
Email: rivers.belfast@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

Lisburn office

District Council areas covered by this office:

  • Antrim
  • Ards
  • Banbridge
  • Ballymena
  • Down
Rivers Agency Lisburn
Ravarnet House
Altona Road
Largymore
Lisburn
BT27 5QB

Tel: 028 9260 6100
Fax: 028 9260 6111
Email: rivers.lisburn@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

Coleraine office

District Council areas covered by this office:

  • Ballymoney
  • Coleraine,
  • Limavady,
  • Londonderry
  • Moyle 
Rivers Agency Coleraine
37 Castleroe Road
Castleroe
Coleraine
BT51 3RL

Tel: 028 7034 2357
Fax: 028 7032 0628
Email: rivers.coleraine@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

(Please note all requests for information relating to the location of any watercourses or Rivers Agency apparatus in a specific area should be sent to rivers.registry@dardni.gov.uk)

Armagh/Plant Unit

District Council areas covered by this office:

  • Armagh
  • Craigavon
  • Dungannon
  • Newry & Mourne
Rivers Agency Craigavon
44 Seagoe Industrial Estate
Seagoe Lower
Craigavon
BT63 5QE

Armagh Rural Area:
Tel: 028 3839 9111
Fax: 028 3839 9113
Email: rivers.armagh@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

Plant Unit

Rivers Agency Plant Unit
44 Seagoe Industrial Estate
Seagoe Lower
Craigavon
BT63 5QE

Tel: 028 3839 9100
Fax: 028 38 39 9112
Email rivers.plant@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

Planning Advisory Unit

Rivers Agency Planning Advisory Unit
44 Seagoe Industrial Estate
Seagoe Lower
Craigavon
BT63 5QE

Tel: 028 3839 9118
Email: rivers.registry@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

Fermanagh contacts

District Council areas covered by this office:

  • Fermanagh
Rivers Agency Fermanagh
Riversdale
Tullylone
Ballinamallard
Enniskillen
BT94 2NA

Tel: 028 6638 8529
Fax: 028 6638 8972
Email: rivers.fermanagh@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

(Please note all requests for information relating to the location of any watercourses or Rivers Agency apparatus in a specific area should be sent to rivers.registry@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk).

Omagh contacts

District Council areas covered by this office:

  • Cookstown
  • Magherafelt
  • Omagh
  • Strabane
Western Regional Office
3a St Julians Road
Lisnamallard
Omagh
BT79 7HQ

Tel: 028 8225 4900
Fax: 028 8225 4901
Email: rivers.omagh@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

(Please note all requests for information relating to the location of any watercourses or Rivers Agency apparatus in a specific area should be sent to rivers.registry@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk)

 

Back to top