Ireland’s River Basin Management Plan 2018 – 2021 was launched in April 2018, setting out measures to be implemented over the next four years, and a new approach for the protection and management of our rivers, lakes, estuaries and coastal waters.
This new approach will involve closer collaboration between Local Authorities and state agencies. Underpinning this second cycle River Basin Management Plan (RBMP) is a strong evidence base resulting from the characterisation work undertaken by the EPA, Inland Fisheries Ireland and Local Authorities.
This new collaborative approach builds on statutory requirements for implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) in Ireland. Two years ago, the Waters and Communities Office was set up as a shared service to help our 31 Local Authorities with their responsibilities for regional coordination around WFD activities and public engagement in the development and implementation of River Basin Management Plans.
To implement the River Basin Management Plan, a new team of 35 scientists with a wide range of technical expertise have been recruited under the Local Authority Waters Programme. These will be called the Catchment Assessment Team and they will assist Local Authorities with implementing the measures set out in the RBMP, and to support ongoing WFD activities.
The new Catchment Assessment Team is a sister organisation to the Waters & Communities Office, and both are part of the Local Authority Waters Programme Office which is led by Kilkenny and Tipperary County Councils.
The Catchment Assessment Team will work closely with our 31 Local Authorities, the Waters & Communities Office, the EPA, other WFD implementing bodies, and the 30 advisors in the new Agricultural Sustainability Support and Advice Programme (ASSAP).
There will be five regional Catchment Assessment Teams, with a Senior Catchment Scientist and 6 support staff in each region. The five regional teams will be completing Local Catchment Assessments in each of the 190 Areas for Action (containing 726 water bodies) between 2018 and 2021. They will recommend measures to improve water quality in these areas, and they will collaborate with and support public bodies, stakeholders and pressure owners to implement these measures. Better water quality will bring multiple benefits for the community and their environment.
Source – catchments.ie