The Water Forum’s overarching research objective is:
To ensure all guidance concerning the management of inland aquatic environments and water resources provided by The Forum is supported by the best available science; and where knowledge gaps exist, to carry out or commission research to support the delivery of the Strategic Plan.
This overarching objective is supported by three sub-objectives:
- To develop and implement a research programme in conjunction with third level education providers to advance thinking and policy development with regard to The Water Forum’s five key thematic areas and other research topics as necessary.
- To engage stakeholders to assist in the delivery of research actions designed to support The Water Forum’s Strategic Plan.
- To advance communication and understanding between the scientific research community, policy stakeholders and the public.
Recent research publications
June 2022: An Assessment of Policy Coherence and conflicts in water and environmental management
Policy coherence is more of an attitude than a rigorous process and it requires a new lens that ensures linkages between policy domains and issues to increase understanding and awareness costs and benefits. New policy instruments need to consider those already in existence and the ‘on the ground’ conditions. Conflicting objectives and perspectives, traditionally hidden or left unsolved, need to be considered openly, and addressed.
The report and policy brief identified a number of conditions that are required to provide the for better policy alignment. Key to these is a focus on knowledge development; particularly strengthening dialogue between science and policy through action research projects. Cooperation across institutional boundaries with greater transparency in policy development where agencies and departments work together to identify potential interfaces between relevant environmental and sectoral policies and to identify and agree trade-offs in a transparent way
February 2022: A Framework for Domestic Water Conservation in Ireland
The research considers the technology that is currently available for domestic water conservation; the legislation related to water conservation; water efficiency labelling; potential incentives for water conservation and education and awareness requirements.
Learnings identify the need for sustained Government-led buy in to deliver the required framework for water conservation and recommendations include:
- A mandatory Government-led water labelling scheme
- Updating of building regulations to specify total water use per building and maximum ratings for fittings
- Introduction of smart metering to raise awareness of how water is used
- Include water use in the BER Certificate
- The establishment of a Water Conservation Team
- Rethink water education to support bottom up understanding of water treatment and supply
December 2021: Report on the Management of Invasive Alien Species in Ireland and Policy Recommendations
The report recommends changes in governance and policy, that has the potential to radically improve IAS management on the island of Ireland and to significantly reduce the forecasted economic costs of treating established IAS on the island.
The report states that many of the most problematic IAS have been introduced to Ireland in the past 20 years and that a significant number of high impact IAS are predicted to arrive in Ireland in the next 10 years resulting in devastating environmental consequences.
Recommendations highlights the need for national IAS legislation coming into force in 2021, which must be implemented, enforced and resourced, preferably by one responsible agency. A key challenge to IAS management is fragmented and uncoordinated action. The research recommends the establishment of a single lead division with overall responsibility for IAS management who would oversee an All-island Strategy for IAS Management and a National Biosecurity Programme.
There is also a need to develop education and awareness programmes with key messages relating to IAS management and the implementation of good biosecurity practice. A range of training courses dedicated to specific stakeholders (Gov. agencies, garden centres, pet shops, retailers) should be delivered.