EU Water Framework Directive
The EU Water Framework Directive was adopted in October 2000 (Directive 2000/60/EC) and signalled a change of thinking in the way that water issues are addressed.
The Directive commits member states to preventing deterioration and achieving at least good status in our rivers, lakes, estuaries, coastal and ground waters by 2027 and to ensure the long-term sustainable use of water. This is to be achieved through catchment-based river basin management planning.
Member States are obliged to produce River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) that, amongst other things, set out a programme of measures to protect and restore water quality and ultimately meet the directive’s objectives. The first river basin management planning cycle covered 2009-2015. This second cycle plan covers 2016-2021 with a third planning cycle covering the period 2022-2027.
2018 - 2021 River Basin Management Plan
Mr. Eoghan Murphy, TD, Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, published the River Basin Management Plan (RBMP) for Ireland 2018-2021 on 17th April 2018.
The plan has been published following three formal phases of public consultation, over 120 town hall meetings, over 2,000 submissions from interested parties, and meetings with representative bodies and stakeholders.
Some of the main actions that will be undertaken by the RBMP are listed below.
- The plan sets out the measures that are required to protect our water bodies.
- It addresses the pressures on those water bodies which are at risk of not meeting the objectives of the Water Framework Directive.
- In its implementation it concentrates on (a) prioritising certain bodies of water for action and (b) delivering positive environmental outcomes by means of intervention co-ordinated across a range of stakeholders.
- Based on scientific evidence from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it prioritises a total of 190 ‘Areas for Action’ across the country.
- Within the Dublin City Council administrative area, the plan identifies the the Santry/Mayne and Dodder sub-catchments as prioritised water bodies or ‘areas for action’ within the second cycle RBMP.
Dublin City Council Water Framework Division Office
A catchment is the area of land that is drained by a river. For its proper management, an understanding of the often damaging effect that human activity can have on a river is essential.
There are many organisations that have a role to play in catchment management. Dublin City Council has established a Water Framework Directive Office (WFDO) to make sure that the council's various sections work together effectively. This office also liaises with the relevant public authorities and our adjoining local authorities. Particular emphasis is placed on our priority water bodies.
The office is adopting a policy of integrated catchment management. This approach encompasses all the relevant disciplines, including planning, water supply, waste water discharge, water quality, flooding, ecology and climate change.
Improving water quality: what you can do
Water quality is both a local and a national issue. Local knowledge and actions can have a powerful positive effect on water quality in rivers, lakes and coastal waters. The Local Authorities Water Community Office (LAWCO) is working with local groups and communities to help them play their part in protecting our waters.
To find out how you can get involved, contact: LAWCO (http://watersandcommunities.ie) T: 0761 065 262.
More information on water quality
To get information about water quality in your local area or water quality activities throughout the country, visit the EPA's Catchments website (https://www.catchments.ie/) The website contains guidance, maps, data, resources, case studies and water-related news from around Ireland. You can also sign up for a quarterly Catchments Newsletter and for updates about relevant events in your county.