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Publication Date

December 2017


The spatial and temporal complexities of flooding in karst terrains pose unique challenges in flood risk management. Lowland karst landscapes can be particularly susceptible to groundwater flooding due to a combination of low aquifer storage, high diffusivity and limited or absent surface drainage. Numerous notable groundwater flood events have been recorded in the Republic of Ireland throughout the twentieth century, but flooding during the winters of 2009 and 2015 was the most severe on record, causing widespread and prolonged disruption and damage to property and infrastructure. Effective flood risk management requires an understanding of the recharge, storage and transport mechanisms governing water movement across the landscape during flood conditions. Using information gathered from recent events, the main hydrological and geomorphological factors influencing flooding in these complex lowland karst groundwater systems are elucidated. Observed flood mechanisms included backwater flooding of sinks, high water levels in ephemerally flooded basins (turloughs), overtopping of depressions, and discharges from springs and resurgences. This paper addresses the need to improve our understanding of groundwater flooding in karst terrains to ensure efficient flood prevention and mitigation in the future, and thus helps to achieve the aims of the European Union Floods Directive.


Geological Society, London, Special Publications, Vol. 466 (2017-12-11).


Groundwater Flooding, Karst Terrains, Flood Prevention And Mitigation, European Union Floods Directive, Lowland Karst Terrains


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Groundwater Flooding; Karst Terrains; Flood Prevention And Mitigation; European Union Floods Directive; Lowland Karst Terrains




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