This report assesses water governance in Ireland using the Water Governance Indicator Framework, a tool developed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2018 to assist countries in assessing their progress towards the European Union’s Water Framework Directive. The report puts a particular emphasis on informing policy and practice in Ireland with a view to ensuring that governance arrangements are enhanced in the third-cycle River Basin Management Plan (RBMP) for Ireland 2022–2027.
The OECD Water Governance Indicator Framework was developed in 2018 to support the implementation of the OECD Water Governance Principles. The Water Governance Indicator Framework is conceived as a voluntary, self-assessment tool for examining national water governance policy frameworks. As noted in the introduction to the Water Governance Indicator Framework, its primary objective is to stimulate a transparent, neutral, open, inclusive and forward-looking dialogue across stakeholders on what does and does not work, what should be improved and who can do what.
This study finds that the new governance structures put in place under the second-cycle RBMP go a significant way towards achieving the objectives contained in the Water Governance Indicator Framework. There is considerable reassurance for those involved that the structures put in place in Ireland around water governance are appropriate and that there are no significant gaps or omissions. Having said that, there is scope for improvements in Irish water governance arrangements for each of the principles. The key conclusions identified for each principle are set out in this report, with Ireland’s performance in each principle categorised as “strong progress”, “good progress” or “limited progress”.