The Water Forum Chairman, Dr Matt Crowe; SEO Donal Purcell and Research Lead Dr Triona McGrath attended the Joint Oireachtas Committee for a discussion the the 3rd River Basin Management Plan.
The Committee facilitated a wide-ranging discussion with expert contributions from the Water Forum, Teagasc, An Taisce and the Sustainable Water Network, SWAN. The WFD requires that ‘good ecological status’ is achieved in all waterbodies by 2027. Currently, approximately 50% of Irelands lakes, rivers and estuaries are at good status.
Of Ireland’s 4842 waterbodies, 1603 need improvement measures; 1983 are at good status and need protection measures so they do not deteriorate and 1256 are in review meaning they need further assessments to determine the measures that are required.
Agriculture is the most significant pressure impacting on 1000 waterbodies, showing an increasing trend since the last cycle. Waterbody modifications (drainage, channel modification, habitat change) are the second most significant pressure affecting 442 waterbodies, forestry impacts 233 waterbodies and urban wastewater is the most significant pressure in 208 waterbodies.
The Water Forum believe that the new RBMP must include details of the measures that will be put in place to restore all waterbodies to good status and to protect good status where it exists, that is an outcomes-based approach needs to be taken. Timelines to achieve the improvements need to be included so that assessments of progress can be made. It also believes that climate and biodiversity objectives should also be considered along with water so that trade offs and co-benefits can be achieved. Public participation is key to engaging at local level to find solutions that work for all.
Dr Matt Crowe’s presentation is available here: