Welcome to Catchments.ie - Water from source to sea.

Water is a precious resource and is essential for all life on earth.

Looking after our rivers, lakes and coastal waters so they can meet our current and future needs, and also continue to support the ecosystems that depend on them, is vital for Ireland’s future.

Doing this at community level is the best way to get people actively involved.

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Make your local catchment work for you

This site has been developed, and is hosted and maintained, by the Environmental Protection Agency.


Sharing science and stories about Integrated Catchment Management in Ireland. Integrated Catchment Management is a community-led approach that aims to involve people and groups from across society.

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What is a catchment, and why should you care?

All of us live in catchments, whether it is the catchment area for a school or hospital, or a catchment area for a local stream, river, lake or coastal water.

For water, a catchment is simply defined as an area of land contributing to a river, lake or other waterbody.

We all want to have good quality schools and hospitals in our community, as this can help with enhancing education and health, and overall quality of life.

In the same way, living in a catchment that has healthy water can help a community have a better quality of life – the water can help make sure local people have high quality drinking water, support livelihoods like agriculture, recreational angling or water sports, and support local ecosystems, so plants, animals, fish and insects that depend on having healthy water can thrive and flourish.

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Using data to help understand our catchments

Managing our catchments effectively requires us to understand and integrate a huge range of information. This includes: how people use the land and waterbodies, and what livelihoods are supported; the geography and geology of an area, looking at how all the water flows both above and below ground from where it falls as rain to the sea; and possible sources of pollution, including urban waste water treatment plants, septic tanks, and runoff from farming, forestry and landfills.

You can see lots of this information on the Maps and  Data pages, which will be added to over time. These pages show information about our 46 catchments, 583 subcatchments and 4829 waterbodies. Many waterbodies have charts available for trends in key biological and chemical indicators, which can help us understand how healthy they are, and the possible causes of any changes.


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How to get involved with your local catchment and make a difference today

While understanding what is affecting our catchments and waterbodies can help us manage them, experience from projects in Ireland and around the world has shown that local community involvement is one of the keys to long-term success.

There are many ways for individuals or local communities to get involved – this can be anything from organising a Spring Clean of a riverbank once a year, getting your local Tidy Towns committee to look at how your river or lake can help your town become a nicer place to live, or even establishing a Rivers Trust or locally led agri-environment scheme to help draw down funding and establish a long term plan for your area.

You can sign up for our quarterly Catchments Newsletter using the form at the top of this page, and if you let us know what county you are in, we can contact you with relevant information about anything new that starts in your county.

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Catchments Newsletter

The Catchments Newsletter highlights science and stories about Integrated Catchment Management from local communities around Ireland, and occasionally further afield.

The stories in the newsletter show how local communities, researchers, Government Departments, state bodies and others can all have a role to play in working together to protect Ireland’s environment, with a special focus on water.

You can sign up to receive the Newsletter quarterly using the form at the top of the page. All past issues are available to download at the link below.

‘a lively and engaging science magazine’ – Micheal Viney, The Irish Times

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Latest News

Who is involved?

Quite simply, everyone in Ireland has a role to play. This can be from something as simple as making sure you don’t pollute your local stream, or a local community working together to establish a Rivers Trust to enhance the rivers and lakes in their area, to a Government Department or Agency helping a Minister implement a new policy to help protect and enhance all our waterbodies.

This website has been developed and is maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is a collaboration between the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Local Authority Waters and Communities Office.


Local Authority Waters and Communities Office

The Waters and Communities Office has been established to carry out public consultation and engagement, and to coordinate the activities of all 31 local authorities in areas connected with the Water Framework Directive.


Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA is responsible for coordinating the monitoring, assessment and reporting on the status of our 4829 waterbodies, looking at trends and changes and determining which waterbodies are at risk and what could be causing this, and drafting environmental objectives and measures for each.


Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government

The Department is responsible for making sure that the right policies, regulations and resources are in place to implement the Water Framework Directive, and developing a River Basin Management Plan and Programme of Measures that will be implemented after public consultation, and sign off by the Minister.