Catchment News changes: new Water Map

This week we’ve upgraded the maps, and have added many new features and layers.

The maps have lots of new tools, a vastly improved search function, and you can switch to satellite imagery for your map.

We’ve also changed the categories for our layers and added several new ones.

You can access the new Water Map at or by using the link on

In this article we cover:

  • Map layers and categories
  • How to switch on the new satellite images for your map
  • Adjusting how your layers look and understanding what they mean
  • Some of the new tools:
    • Search can now be done by Eircode, address, county/town or coordinates so you can easily find where you live
    • Measurement and drawing tools
    • How to print your map

We’ll cover some of the new map layers and what they mean in greater detail in another article coming soon.

The new Water Map

Map layers and categories

For Version 2.0 of the Maps, we have added new layers and changed the categories which will hopefully make them both more useful and easier to use. Any layer can be switched on by using the menu at the top of the map.

The new categories and layers are:

  • Water, Land and Soil
    • Water: includes water features like catchments, subcatchments, river sub-basins and water bodies, along with river flow and river network layers
    • Geography: counties, local authority areas and settlements
    • Hydrogeology: GSI bedrock and gravel aquifers, GSI Vulnerability
    • Soil: Subsoils and susceptibility maps for nitrate and phosphate
  • Protected Areas
    • Drinking Water, Recreational Waters (designated Bathing Waters for swimming), Shellfish, Salmonid, Conservation Areas (SACs, SPAs)
  • Monitoring and Flow
    • Q Values – river ecology monitoring results from 1971 to present
    • Flows and Levels – both monitored and modelled, with links to all active hydrometric monitoring gauges
    • National Monitoring Stations
  • Status and Risk
    • Bathing Water Quality – this is updated during the bathing season which runs form 1 June to 15 September and includes links to which has information on water quality, tides, accessibility and weather for all designated Bathing Waters
    • Water Framework Directive Status 2013-2018
    • Water Framework Directive Risk 2010-2015
    • Water Framework Directive Status 2010-2015
    • High Status Objective water bodies
  • Pressures and Activities
    • Significant Pressures for river, lake, transitional and coastal water bodies
    • Pollution Impact Potential Maps
    • EPA Licensed Activities – Urban Waste Water, waste and Industrial facilities
  • Taking Action
    • Stories – these are all stories from, showing how local communities and public bodies are working to protect and restore water quality in Ireland
    • Areas for Action Plan  – this show the Priority Areas for Action that are being focused on by the Local authority Waters Programme during implementation of Ireland’s national River Basin Management Plan 2018-2021. Further details on all Areas for Action are available at

Satellite Images

This means you can see satellite imagery for any area. This baser layer can be accessed by clicking the three dots in the lower right of the map and selecting ‘Bing Maps’.

If you select the three dots in the bottom right of the screen…
… and then Bing Maps you will get satellite imagery for your map.

Adjusting how your layers look

Once you switch a layer on, you can change how it looks by clicking the ‘Active Layer’ menu on the left of the map.

You can access the Active ;layers menu on the left of the maps…
Once you open the Active Layers menu if you click the icon highlighted above for any layer, you can see the legend and adjust how it looks.
The bar at the top of the screen (in a red box) allows you to adjust how this layer looks. Underneath you can see the legend which explains what the colours mean.
The Water Maps with the Active Layers menu open.

New tools for search, measurement and drawing

Search tools: You can now search by Address, Eircode, County/Town and Coordinates. You can access these by clicking the Magnifying Glass in the top right or by clicking the tools menu on the left of the maps

To find where you live, click on the magnifying glass in the top right….
… and you can find the place you want to know more about.

The Tools Menu: Search for a water feature, measure and draw on your map

The tools menu can be accessed from the left hand side of the map.

The tools menu can be opened by clicking the red box above on the right of the screen.

The tools menu includes the following:

  • Search Water Feature: you can search for any river, lake, estuary, coastal water, catchment or subcatchment using this
  • Search Tools this is another way to access the Eircode/County/Coordinates search shown above already
  • Measurement Tools
  • Graphic Tools -these allow you to draw on the map
The tools menu on the new Water Map.

Measurement tools

The new measurement tools.

Graphic tools

These tools allow you to draw on the map and to add text. You can also print your map after you have added a drawing or text.

These new Graphic Tools mean you can draw or write on you map.

Print Map

This allows you to print the map on screen, along with any shapes or text you may have drawn on the map with the Graphic Tools. You can do this by clicking on the Print Map icon in the bottom right of the Maps.

Click the Printer image highlighted red above to print you map.

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 4,842 water bodies, looking at trends and changes, determining which waterbodies are at risk and what could be causing this, and drafting environmental objectives 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 to protect and restore our waters.