The Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy T.D., launched the River Basin Management Plan (RBMP) for Ireland 2018-2021 on April 17.
The Plan outlines the measures the State and other sectors will take to improve water quality in Ireland’s groundwater, rivers, lakes, estuarine and coastal waters over the next four years.
The Government aims to protect and improve water quality in 726 of Ireland’s 4,829 water bodies over the next four years.
The Plan is in fulfillment of requirements under the Water Framework Directive (WFD).
Expected outcomes from the RBMP 2018-2021
- Water quality will improve and be protected in 726 water bodies, with full recovery in water quality status class expected in 152 water bodies.
- 255 urban waste water treatment projects progressed throughout the country.
- 23,000 farmers to receive advice on best practice regarding sustainability under the Dairy Sustainability Initiative and the new Agricultural Sustainability Support and Advisory Programme.
- Greater public and stakeholder engagement in water issues via new fora and community initiatives.
- Reduced leakage in public water supplies, from approximately 45% to 38% of all water produced by Irish Water.
- Improved governance of river basin management planning and delivery of measures, underpinned by a stronger evidence base, laying the foundations for improved water quality beyond 2021.
The planned action is based on a much-improved scientific evidence base informing decision-making at both national and local levels. The delivery of the Plan is underpinned by an integrated governance structure for an effective catchment-based approach.
In addition, the views of citizens and representative groups have been more effectively incorporated into policy and implementation. This Plan aims to develop local expertise necessary to deliver further improvements in the subsequent Water Framework Directive period to 2027. The Plan and Summary are available at www.housing.gov.ie
In Leitrim, the priority water bodies include the Rivers Duff, Cullies, Yellow, Upper Bonet, Killukin/Shannon, Lough Rinn/Forbes, Lough Allen, Lough Melvin and Drowes, Glencar lake, Lough Gill.
The Waters and Communities Office has been established to support local community water initiatives and the Community Water Development Fund has been put in place to support such activities.
This fund is open to all community and voluntary groups to assist in the protection and management of water quality, both locally and in the wider catchment. This can include the development of a catchment partnership or River/Lake Trust, and delivery of local projects to protect and improve water quality in a local waterbody.
Also, the Tidy Towns Waters and Communities Special Award aims to encourage communities to get involved by helping to preserve, promote and fully utilise local water heritage.
To find out more about these initiatives please contact your local Community Water Officer, see www.watersandcommunities.ie