Catchment News

2019: our year in review

As we start a new year (and a new decade!) its worth looking back at the year just gone by.

2019 saw boots in the water around the country, with ongoing work by all of our local authorities across Ireland. The new team in the LA Waters Programme continued working with local communities, the Agricultural Sustainability Support and Advice Programme and other bodies in Areas for Action to protect and improve water quality as part of the implementation of the 2nd Cycle River Basin Management Plan.

At the same time, preparations including a public consultation on Significant Water Management Issues are now underway for the Water Framework Directive 3rd Cycle, which will run from 2022-2027.

The EPA’s Water Quality in Ireland 2013-2018 was released in December 2019, which showed a continued deterioration in water quality. Our estuaries and rivers have the greatest challenges: our estuaries are in the worst condition overall, and our rivers have suffered the greatest number of declines in ecological health in the recent monitoring period. We have also seen an increase in fish kills, an increase in nutrient concentrations, an increase in the number of waterbodies at Poor and Bad status, and a continued loss of high status sites.

However, it is not all bad news. Our groundwaters and coastal waters are in relatively good condition and there has been improvements in water quality in a number of lakes. With these latest water quality data in hand we are now preparing to develop the 3rd cycle river basin management plan for the period 2022-2027. 

Water Quality in Ireland 2013-2018

Dr Shane O’Boyle discusses Water Quality in Ireland 2013-2018

2018 Bathing Water quality

The 2018 Bathing Water Report was released in May 2019. We’re lucky in Ireland to have some of the best and most beautiful beaches in the world. The EPA 2018 Bathing Water Report showed there have been improvements in our bathing waters.

Dr Jenny Deakin discusses the 2018 Bathing Water Quality report

Catchments Newsletters

We published 3 Catchments Newsletters in 2019:

2019: our year in tweets

The below are @EPACatchments top tweets for each month in 2019…













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 water bodies.

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 Programme.


Local Authority Waters Programme

The Local Authority Waters Programme coordinates the efforts of local authorities and other public bodies in the implementation of the River Basin Management Plan, and supports local community and stakeholder involvement in managing our natural waters, for everyone’s benefit.


Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA is responsible for coordinating the monitoring, assessment and reporting on the status of our 4,829 water bodies, looking at trends and changes, determining which waterbodies are at risk and what could be causing this, and drafting environmental objectives and measures for each.


Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

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.