Catchment News

Minister Noonan launches national implementation strategy at Nature-Based Solutions Conference

16 May 2024: Minister for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan T.D, opened the Nature-Based Solutions Conference – to Protect and Restore Water Quality in Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) today and launched two important documents: a national strategy for the implementation of nature-based solutions and a template guidance document on managing rainwater for local authorities.

Todays nature-based solutions conference is organised by the Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO), with a number of supporting partners, it brings together international and Irish experts to share their experiences and ideas for the upscaling and mainstreaming of nature-based solutions.

The conference focuses on urban, rural, riverine and coastal areas and draws from practical, on-the-ground examples, with an examination of policy and finding opportunities to implement solutions.

“We are in an era of environmental change and need to look at ways we can incorporate nature-based solutions to protect and restore our urban, rural, coastal and riverine environments. I am delighted to launch the ‘Nature-Based Management of Urban Rainwater and Urban Surface Water Discharges’ and the ‘Rainwater Management Planning – Guidance for Local Authorities’ today.  Working together, several departments and agencies collaborated to create this strategy as a roadmap to bring urban Nature-based Solutions into the mainstream in Ireland. This is a live document, and its steering group will continue to oversee its implementation of urban nature-based solutions in the years ahead. I am also pleased to publish the ‘Rainwater Management Planning Guidance’ document for local authorities, an information document that will assist them in the decision making at settlement level.”

Minister Noonan

Nature-based solutions can significantly contribute to addressing multiple societal challenges. The International Union of Conservation Concern estimate that one third of climate mitigation, needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, can be provided by nature-based solutions.

“Nature-based solutions can play an important role in protecting water quality, biodiversity and assisting in efforts to address climate change, but nature-based solutions need to be upscaled and mainstreamed to be effective. Mitigation against pollution, coastal erosion, flooding as well as public wellbeing are all potential benefits. However, how we plan for, design and roll out nature-based solutions is critical. To be delivered there must be a clear understanding of what they are and how they can be implemented into projects at different scales. We are delighted to host this conference in Ireland- the first of its kind. It shows the progress we are making in bringing together the sectors and developing policy supports. This is an exciting opportunity for Ireland to develop best practice through collaborations with our European colleagues in the ResiRiver Interreg project with both private and public bodies across the country.”

Dr Fran Igoe, Regional Coordinator in LAWPRO

Learn more:

For further information please visit:

You can read about natural water retention measures, which is one type of nature-based solution, and download a report with an overview and recommendations for their use in Ireland completed in 2021 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.