Catchment News

Ireland’s National Water Quality Monitoring Programme 2022–2027

The EPA has recently published this document on Ireland’s national Water Framework Directive (WFD) Water Quality Monitoring Programme for the period 2022-2027. The main purpose of the monitoring programme is to provide a coherent and comprehensive national overview of the ecological and chemical status of surface waters (rivers, lakes, transitional and coastal waters) and the quantitative and chemical status of groundwaters.

Information from the WFD Monitoring Programme is used, amongst other things, to track progress towards  the achievement of the environmental objectives required by the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and set out in Ireland’s national River Basin Management Plan (RBMP) and to assess  change in the quality of Ireland’s aquatic environment over time.

The document provides a description of the type of monitoring to be undertaken:

  • surveillance, operational or investigative
  • the number of water bodies
  • quality elements (biological, physico-chemical, chemical and hydromorphological) to be monitored
  • the frequency of this monitoring

The programme is comprised of 2,899 surface and groundwater bodies representing 60 per cent of the total number of water bodies nationally. This includes 2,429 river water bodies, 224 lakes, 80 transitional water bodies, 45 coastal waters, 16 canals and 121 groundwater bodies including 159 sites used to assess groundwater quantitative status.

The public bodies involved in undertaking the programme include the Environmental Protection Agency, Marine Institute, Inland Fisheries Ireland, Waterways Ireland, National Parks and Wildlife Service and local authorities. 

Learn more:–assessment/freshwater–marine/irelands-national-water-quality-monitoring-programme-20222027.php

Note: detailed information on scheduled WFD monitoring for 2022-2027 will be available shortly on individual waterbody pages 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.