Catchment News

Community Water Development Fund 2020 grant awards

Sheevaun Thompson from the Local Authority Waters Programme tells us about the Community Water Development Fund. In 2020, this fund had 145 applications, and 118 of these were successful. The fund will award more than €200,000 this year, and the average award to community groups is €1,951.

The Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO) launched the Community Water Development Fund for 2020 at the Catchment Partnerships and Rivers Trusts Conference held in the Hudson Bay Hotel, Athlone on the 30 November 2019.

The Fund is now in its third year of operation and was set up specifically to encourage greater community engagement in the area of water related projects and initiatives, delivering benefits locally whilst also helping to meet the objectives of the River Basin Management Plan for Ireland and the EU Water Framework Directive.

The breakdown of project type for successful funding applications under the 2020 Community Water Fund open call.

The Fund is open to all community and voluntary groups to assist in the protection and management of water quality, both locally and in the wider catchment. This can include the development of a catchment partnership or River/Lake Trust, and delivery of local projects to protect and improve water quality in a local waterbody.

The Fund enables communities to get more involved in the management of their water environment, delivering multiple benefits for present and future generations. The Fund is administered by LAWPRO on behalf of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. For the 2020 Open Call, an online platform was developed on the website of the Local Authority Waters Programme at

This facilitated the analysis of data and proved to be a very important and useful tool in light of COVID-19 and the need for the remote assessment of grant applications. As with previous years, there was massive interest in the Fund, with 145 applications received and over €660,000 in total project costs. A final sum of €230,247 was awarded with 118 applicants successfully receiving some level of grant aid. The average grant awarded was €1,951.

As an incentive to apply online, all applicants submitted through the online portal were included in a special draw for a prize grant of €500. This proved a great initiative and 109 of the 145 applications were submitted online. Congratulations to Ballybunnion TidyTowns, Co. Kerry who were the lucky winners of the €500 prize.

Types of projects considered for funding under the Community
Water Development Fund included:

  • Capital projects such as river restoration/habitat conservation/natural flood mitigation measures, wetlands
  • Projects that promote public awareness/education and events such as biodiversity days, events, citizen science, training, workshops, surveys, signage, promotional leaflets, etc.
  • Public amenity improvements such as waterbody clean up, removal of invasive species, fencing, bird watching facilities, etc.
  • Feasibility studies, reports and plans
The types of organisations applying for the Community Water Fund.

As in previous years, awareness and education remain the most popular type of project applied for under the Fund. Applications received by group type shows that TidyTowns groups were the most active applicants. It is fantastic to see these groups showing such a keen interest in their local water bodies and biodiversity.

Sheevaun Thompson, Local Authority Waters Programme

Learn more:

Further details of grants awarded under the Community Water Development Fund 2020 are available on

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.