How do we manage our catchments?

Community Involvement

Experience around the world and in Ireland has shown that working together in local partnerships with local communities, Rivers Trusts, public bodies, and others on managing individual catchments and subcatchments of a suitable size is the best way to protect and improve our water, and making sure local community’s livelihoods and health are sustained and protected into the future.


To effectively manage our catchments, bottom-up and top-down collaboration is necessary. will highlight stories  from around Ireland showing how we can manage our rivers, lakes and coastal waters, and share the science and data that is necessary to help people make decisions.

This website has been established by Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Environmental Protection Agency and the new Local Authority Waters and Communities Office, and is designed to function as a hub so any interested citizen can get all the information they need about how to get involved in one place.


Understanding our catchments effectively requires us to understand and integrate a huge range of information: how people are using the water, including drinking, agriculture, industrial use and bathing; the geography and geology of an area, looking at how all the water bodies are connected both above and below ground; how the water flows from where it falls as rain to the sea; how people use the land and waterbodies, and what livelihoods are supported; and possible sources of pollution, including urban waste water treatment plants, septic tanks, and runoff from farming, forestry and landfills.

You can see lots of this information on the Maps and Data pages, which will be added to over time.


Draft River Basin Management Plan – Public Consultation

To help manage our water, a draft national River Basin Management Plan has been published. A full public consultation  ended on 31st August 2017, and the final version of the plan is expected to be published in 2018.


Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management

The Office of Public Works is responsible for Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management.

The Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management Programme is central to the medium to long-term strategy for the reduction and management of flood risk in Ireland.

The Programme delivers on core components of the National Flood Policy, adopted in 2004, and on the requirements of the EU Floods Directive. The Irish Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management programme is being carried out in parallel with similar programmes across the European Union.

The OPW is the lead agency for flood risk management in Ireland and is the national competent authority for the EU Floods Directive. The OPW works in close partnership with all Local Authorities in delivering the objectives of the Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management Programme.

Implementation of the requirements EU Floods Directive is being coordinated with the requirements of the EU Water Framework Directive and the current River Basin Management Plans. The Programme is also being undertaken with close cross-border coordination.

Further information is available on

Recent articles about Catchment Managment

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 waterbodies.

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 and Communities Office.


Local Authority Waters and Communities Office

The Waters and Communities Office has been established to carry out public consultation and engagement, and to coordinate the activities of all 31 local authorities in areas connected with the Water Framework Directive.


Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA is responsible for coordinating the monitoring, assessment and reporting on the status of our 4829 waterbodies, looking at trends and changes and determining which waterbodies are at risk and what could be causing this, and drafting environmental objectives and measures for each.


Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government

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.