Catchment News

IFA Smart Farming: Sources and Solutions – the link between our soils & water quality, and how to use the PIP maps on

The 2021 IFA Smart Farming event Sources and Solutions, the link between our Soils and Water Quality has launched a series of short information videos on soil fertility, soil carbon sequestration and improving water quality, with two videos showing how the maps on can help.

How farmers manage their land can have a significant impact on water quality. Routine farming activities such as fertiliser and slurry application can lead to the loss of nutrients to our rivers and streams.

As different nutrients behave differently in soil types knowing how to maximise nutrient use efficiency and minimise losses is key to reducing input costs, protecting our water quality, and reducing emissions on farms.

Five short information videos have been developed by Smart Farming to help farmers to improve their soil fertility, soil carbon sequestration and water quality. The aim of the information videos is to convey practical advice to farmers which are easy to implement on their farms.

The IFA Smart Farming programme is supported by the EPA.

How to improve water quality?

ASSAP Advisor Meabh O’Hagan visits a drystock farm in Co. Meath and identifies the 5 key measures to help protect water quality on farms:

  1. Apply manure, slurry and fertiliser correctly.
  2. 2.Introduce an extended buffer zone.
  3. 3.Locate water troughs away from waterways.
  4. 4.Implement a nutrient management plan.
  5. 5.Introduce mixed species & clover to your grass swards.

What are Pollution Impact Potential (PIP) Maps?

ASSAP Advisor Meabh O’Hagan explains what the EPA Pollution Impact Potential maps are used for and how they can be used by farmers to identify water pressures in their area.

How to use the PIP maps on

Jenny Deakin, Manager of the Catchment Science and Management Unit in the EPA gives a step-by-step tutorial on how to access the PIP maps online, search for your location and identify pressure points on water quality.

These maps, including flow paths and delivery points, do not indicate specific areas that have a problem, and they are not designed or suitable to be used on their own as a basis for decisions at field scale. They can be used however to target measures in catchments where water monitoring data have indicated that there is a problem.

Learn more:

SmartFarming | Sources and Solutions – Link Between Our Soils & Water Quality

Next generation Pollution Impact Potential maps launched – –

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.