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Home : Environment : Water Framework Directive

Interested in water? Check out the website www.catchments.ie for water quality information on your own river, lake or other waterbody and how you can get involved and make a difference.  


What is the Water Framework Directive?

The EU Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) requires that all Member States protect and improve water quality in all waters so that we achieve good ecological status by 2015 or, at the latest, by 2027.   The Directive was transposed into Irish Law through the European Communities (Water Policy) Regulations, 2003 (S.I. No. 722 of 2003).  It applies to rivers, lakes, groundwaters, transitional and coastal waters.  The implementation of the Directive includes the preparation of River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs).  The first RBMPs covered the period 2010 to 2015.

Following a review of the first RBMPs, the Government established a new structure for the management, governance and responsibilities for the implementation of the WFD.  The new structure was given legal effect by the European Union (Water Policy) Regulations 2014 S.I. 350 of 2014 and is designed around three inter-locking tiers.

This can be summarised in the table below:

WFD diagram

For current information, guidance, maps, data, resources and water related case studies follow the link www.catchments.ie  This is a shared resource that has been developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, and the Local Authority Waters and Communities Office (LAWCO). It allows for public access to information on rivers, lakes and coastal waters that has been gathered by the EPA and other bodies.


Local Authority Waters and Communities Office (LAWCO) information.