The EPA National Water Event 'Restoring our waters' will be…
2020: Our year in review
Below, you can find some of the EPA’s 2020 work on water. This included holding our largest ever water conference and publication of reports on water quality indicators and bathing water quality for 2019. A monthly hydrology summary bulletin was launched in May 2020. We’ve also highlighted water-related EPA press releases, our top 5 stories on catchments.ie and our most popular Tweet for each month. This gives a flavor of what we’ve been working on, and perhaps more importantly what resonated with the Irish public.
One of the absolute highlights was our photo competition to celebrate the launch of Ireland’s Rivers in December – if you want to see hundreds of stunningly beautiful photos of Ireland’s rivers, coasts and lakes, scroll down to the very bottom of this page to our December 2020 tweet and make sure you check out all the wonderful replies. Thanks so much to everyone who entered this competition.
The biggest change in 2020 was the move to working from home and virtual conferences and meetings. Our June 2020 EPA Water Conference was our largest ever, with over 1250 attendees. This was roughly three times more people than had attended any previous water conference. All the presentations can be watched on YouTube. Slide decks and some additional questions from attendees that were answered by our panelists after the event are at the above link.
Selected EPA Press Releases
Some key EPA press releases relating to water are below. You can find all EPA press releases for 2020 on EPA.ie
- January: EPA warns that poorly constructed wells and inadequate monitoring of private water supplies are putting health at risk
- May: EPA report shows on-going improvement in bathing water quality. Three new bathing waters classified as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ in latest assessment.
- June: While the quality of drinking water in public supplies remains high, supplies to over 1 million people are vulnerable to failure, says EPA Director General
- July: EPA welcomes new septic tank grant scheme as over 50% of systems fail inspection
- November: Uncertainty and delays in delivering critical wastewater infrastructure is undermining confidence and prolonging risks to public
- December: Ireland’s Water Quality Needs to be Better Protected
Selected EPA Publications
On 25 November 2020 the EPA published Ireland’s Environment – An Integrated Assessment 2020 which provides an assessment of the overall quality of Ireland’s environment, the pressures being placed on it and the societal responses to current and emerging environmental issues. This State of the Environment report is published every 4 years.
In December 2020, the EPA published Water Quality in 2019: an indicators report.
- Just over half of Irish surface waters are in a satisfactory condition.
- Nutrient concentrations in waters are too high and the trends are going in the wrong direction.
- Nitrate concentrations are now increasing in nearly half of our river and groundwater sites.
- Phosphate levels are increasing in a quarter of river sites.
- Concentrations of nitrate are highest in the south and south east of the country where the main source is agriculture.
- Delivering on the key objectives of Ireland’s River Basin Management Plan and targeted action at local water catchment level is key to improving water quality.
Ireland’s water quality needs to be better protected is the main finding of ‘Water Quality Indicators Report 2019’ which provides an assessment of Ireland’s surface water and groundwater quality. To read the report visit https://t.co/d9FVn265XW#water #waterquality pic.twitter.com/PdRtHUTzs3— EPA Ireland (@EPAIreland) December 15, 2020
In May 2020, the EPA published the Bathing Water in Ireland report for 2019 which set out the quality of bathing water at our beaches. Overall, bathing water quality improved across the country in 2019, although quality did decline at some locations.
WATCH the video to hear the main findings from the EPA’s— EPA Ireland (@EPAIreland) May 27, 2020
Bathing Water Report 2019. Remember: check out https://t.co/WRuAKPrySy for further information on bathing water & updates on monitoring results during the bathing water season (1 June – 15 Sept) @EPABeaches @EPACatchments pic.twitter.com/MQM22WHKfa
In May 2020, the EPA Water Programme started publishing monthly hydrology summary bulletins. These bulletins contains river flow and water level graphs for a sample of surface water and groundwater hydrometric stations across Ireland. The bulletin also contains maps which show how flows and levels at stations across the country compare to the average for the month.
We published one Catchments Newsletter in 2020. In this issue, we had stories on:
Waters and Communities News: Citizen science on our rocky shorelines; Nature on our Doorsteps; Stoneybatter’s water mural and pollinator plan; online community meetings; The LAWPRO Community Water Fund.
Articles: EPA Water Conference 2020; new Water Map and Chemistry downloads on catchments.ie; An Forum Usice on public involvement in decision making; measuring water flows and levels; stonefly threatened with extinction; Blue Dot Catchments; NFGWS Biodiversity Framework; Environmental Sensitivity Mapping; Natural Capital Accounting; The Living Bog’s water; The Flood of Venice.
Top stories on catchments.ie
Our top five posts on catchments.ie for 2020 were:
- Hydromorphology: what is it?
- 2020 EPA Water Conference – watch online now
- Ireland’s Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme
- Catchments.ie changes – new water map
- The Blue Dots Catchments Programme
Top tweets for @EPACatchments
Looking forward to Ear To the Ground this evening – 7pm, RTE 1.— EPA Catchments (@EPACatchments) February 6, 2020
You can read a summary of the EPA Report ‘Water Quality in Ireland 2013-2018’, which showed a continued decline in river water quality, in the Winter 2019 Catchments Newsletter:#ettghttps://t.co/Q347Bg7Noz https://t.co/WJBUIWJY0J pic.twitter.com/9a47HgzAO8
This week we’ve launched our new Water Maps:— EPA Catchments (@EPACatchments) April 24, 2020
Different categories for all layers
New search tools (Eircode, address, coordinates, water feature)
Measurement and drawing tools
Learn more: https://t.co/ifdBYpnARk pic.twitter.com/IJPqJ19gIZ
This bridge is quite famous and normally would be visited by tourists daily at this time of year… do you know why?— EPA Catchments (@EPACatchments) May 6, 2020
These photos are from last week – as part of the acid lake monitoring programme one of our ecologists was sampling Lough Bofin in Connemara. #SocialDistancing pic.twitter.com/1bIsE1f0hb
Join us for the online EPA Water Event 2020 – Restoring our Waters.— EPA Catchments (@EPACatchments) June 4, 2020
The conference will be on the mornings of 17 & 18 June as we go virtual…
🌅 🖥️ 🌊 🚰 ☕️ 😀
Details and registration: https://t.co/L4rCwCes66 pic.twitter.com/HdjqKY8Ea0
Some useful resources here for anyone planning their summer in Ireland.— EPA Catchments (@EPACatchments) July 16, 2020
Don’t forget: before you jump in the sea, check out https://t.co/lIc2C9hGml https://t.co/lIc2C9hGml will show you the best beaches nearby and can be accessed easily on your smart phone. https://t.co/LklifzDy5f pic.twitter.com/M6heYr4Rl0
‘Stories from the Waterside – a unique collection of short stories celebrating Ireland’s waterbodies’— EPA Catchments (@EPACatchments) August 19, 2020
These short stories celebrate Ireland’s unique water heritage for #HeritageWeek2020
Nearly 500 stories from around Ireland were submitted to this competition during lockdown. pic.twitter.com/G5XIzobmgB
Laura Burke @EPAIreland DG was on @RTECountryWide— EPA Catchments (@EPACatchments) October 19, 2020
‘All the trends are going the wrong direction – water quality is getting worse, emissions of GHGs + ammonia are going up… there are lots of good things happening locally but the scale isn’t there…https://t.co/5FZauzE4wO
3000!— EPA Catchments (@EPACatchments) December 3, 2020
To celebrate reaching 3000 followers, we’re going to give away a copy of ‘Ireland’s Rivers’ – recently published by @UCDPress
To enter reply to this tweet with a nice photo from this year of your local river/lake/coast and we’ll pick a winner at random on 9 December. pic.twitter.com/o8480QY3mm