HOUSEHOLDERS in Finaghy who have been bedevilled by flooding for over a decade are calling on the Rivers Agency to designate and re-route a minor watercourse which is causing the problem. The undesignated watercourse running behind homes at Ormonde Court, Ormonde Park and Lille Park, close to the Finaghy crossroads, is partially blocked. As a result, the watercourse backs up after heavy rainfall, flooding gardens and houses in the area.

Back gardens of a block of apartments in Ormonde Park are under water constantly as a result of the blockage and last year a tree with rotted roots collapsed into the garden of a local resident.

While Northern Ireland Water engineers have indentified the source of the problem, they say they cannot act until the Rivers Agency designates the watercourse.

Ormonde Park householder Pearse Collins, who has been corresponding with government departments on the issue for over 10 years, said the problem needed to be resolved as soon as possible before the flooding becomes worse.

“I’ve lived here since 1994 but the problem has been going on long before that, it’s disastrous,” said Mr Collins.

“There are up to a dozen home affected.  It comes from rainwater that runs off a road and into this watercourse which has been blocked by tree roots.  When it overflows the water comes up through a manhole and into our gardens but the water doesn’t drain away, it can stay there for months, most of the year, in fact.”

Mr Collins said the flood water can be up to two metres deep.

“The problem is definitely getting worse as it’s damaging trees and hedges,” he said.

“You are not able to enjoy your garden properly because of the lying water.  It’s time for whichever government agency is responsible for this problem to sort it out once and for all.”

Local Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, who convened a meeting with residents and officials of NI Water and the Department for Regional Development on the chronic flooding issue, said a solution to the ongoing problem was “staring the authorities in the face”.

"For a relatively small amount of money, the watercourse can be diverted across to existing storm drains in Finaghy Park Central and a problem which has caused untold misery to residents resolved,” he said. “The Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Michelle O'Neill, had agreed to look into having this watercourse designated and I have contacted her again to ask that the issue be speeded up. Once designated, Rivers Agency should move quickly to resolve this long-running issue. I share the frustration of residents who see how easily a problem like this can be resolved but feel government isn't moving quick enough to deliver.”