It will cost an estimated €20m to create flood defences to protect the town of Midleton, which has suffered from flooding on several occasions in recent years, the most recent occurring early last year.
The first round of public consultation on the flood relief programme for the Owenacurra and Dungourney rivers, which both flow into the town, will be held at the Midleton park Hotel between 3pm and 7pm on Thursday.
Representatives from Cork County Council, who are creating the project on behalf of the OPW, will be present to answer questions, as will representatives from the project consultants ARUP.
County council project manager Colm Brennan said the first round of public consultation will provide people with a view of all options being considered.
The proposals will then be refined to a preferred option which will go back for further public consultation, probably by late summer 2018.
Mr Brennan said finding the proper solution to Midleton’s flooding problems was complex because of a number of factors.
He said river and tidal flooding had to be taken into account, along with the proliferation of underwater streams which “riddled the area”.
“The wide range of options will include earth embankments, walls, upstream storage of water, flood forecasting systems, the installation of localised pumping stations, flow diversion, and conveyancing improvements,” Mr Brennan said.
Council engineers and ARUP held their first steering group meeting on the flood prevention plans on November 30, 2016, several months ahead of schedule.
Mr Brennan said it is hoped to start construction of the flood prevention works in the summer of 2020 and it will take anything between 18 months and two years to complete.
“Because of the issues it will be the most complicated flood prevention scheme to date that has been carried out by Cork County Council on behalf of the Office of Public Works,” he said.
Midleton was extensively flooded in late November 2015 and early January 2016 as a result of storms sweeping in from the Atlantic.
A study carried out by the OPW found around 240 homes and businesses in the area were at risk of repeated flooding unless action was taken to protect them.
Traditionally, the town has suffered from an insufficient capacity to handle surface water drainage.
It is hoped next week’s event will also gather vital information from the public about their flooding experiences and their thoughts on likely solutions.
Those unable to attend can submit comments to: Midleton Flood Relief Scheme, Arup, 50 Ringsend Road, Dublin, or email email@example.com.