Catchment News

Celebrate our magnificent waters during National Heritage Week

Water Heritage Day on Sunday 22 August is the last day of National Heritage Week 2021. It is a chance to celebrate heritage and history connected to our magnificent rivers, lakes, and coastline.

This water themed day is organised through collaboration between the Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO) and The Heritage Council. Each year, Community Water Officers and Heritage Officers support local communities and groups to organise events and projects that highlight the value of water for recreational, cultural, environmental, and economic benefits.

As an island nation, our heritage and history have been shaped by the sea and the myriad of great Irish rivers, lakes, and wetlands. We pride ourselves on Ireland’s image as a clean and green, emerald isle. This image is completely reliant on the health of our rivers and lakes, and the surrounding landscapes, called water catchments. We need to value wild and natural places and protect them as a natural heritage for present and future generations to enjoy.

Coastline at Annestown. Photo by John Foley.

We all instinctively value the steady supply of safe drinking water in our homes and workplaces. Whereas often we don’t place the same value on water in our rivers and lakes, and coastal areas, yet these natural waters underpin our health, wellbeing, and future prosperity.

This year, National Heritage Week is about getting as many people as possible to enjoy heritage. Especially ‘heritage newcomers’ who may not have engaged with National Heritage Week and Water Heritage Day in previous years. LAWPRO is working with local community groups to raise awareness of the value and importance of local water bodies. Thus, we encourage individuals, groups, and families to take part in Water Heritage Day and discover their local river, lake, or coast through a local project or event during National Heritage Week.  

Considering ongoing restrictions on events and gatherings because of COVID-19, The Heritage Council has announced a modified National Heritage Week for 2021. Rather than focusing on public events, local heritage groups and organisers have developed local projects, which can be viewed online. There are some in-person events with limited numbers and registration in advance is necessary.

Learn more:

To find Water Heritage Day projects or events in your local area and county visit: https://www.heritageweek.ie/projects

To find out more about LAWPRO and the water heritage project Stories from the Waterside visit https://lawaters.ie/stories-from-the-waterside/

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.

LAWCO

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.

EPA

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.

DECLG

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.