In Ireland, we are never far from at least one…
Making the most of our waters – the LEADER approach and future funding opportunities
A workshop by the Local Authority Waters and Communities Office, WaterLIFE & IRD Duhallow was held on Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th May 2016 at IRD Duhallow, James O’Keefe Institute, Newmarket, Co. Cork.
This workshop explored the potential role of Rural Development Companies and Urban Partnerships in water management, and how we can work together to manage our community water resources into the future. The new LEADER programme offers exciting opportunities for the development of local economies in both the rural and urban environments, underpinned by good management of water and its related biodiversity.
How to do this in an effective manner is a challenge for each community group as this is an evolving area which requires specialist expertise.
The workshop included knowledge exchange via the LIFE+ WaterLIFE project (waterlife.org.uk) and the Catchment Based Approach (www. catchmentbasedapproach.org) two closely aligned initiatives to drive collaborative water management in the UK. By looking at the UK and Irish experience in community based water management, the workshop took a practical look at how to develop water based projects, considering the issues to watch out for and how community groups can maximize the water potential of their local areas.
Improved water quality and habitats underpin water based ecotourism and communities also depend on these for a good quality of life. The workshop contained a mixture of practical examples and highlighted potential roadblocks to good projects, ideas for project development were illustrated and how these fit into the bigger of picture of better water management.
The overall objective was to explore and demonstrate ways in which Rural Development Companies can become more that just funders by taking proactive roles in strategic planning, animation of and coordinators of stakeholders with an interest in sustainable water management in Ireland. In addition Rural Development Companies and Partnerships are well positioned to leverage other schemes (Rural Social Scheme/ Tús) to carry out large scale programmes such as invasive species control. This two day event showcased how this can be done based on proven and practical approaches from both Ireland and the United Kingdom.