Catchment News

Smart Farming – being water-wise on farm

Smart Farming, the resource efficiency programme run by IFA in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency has launched updated water guidance, to support farmers work in improving water quality and reducing the risk of penalties.

“Farmers are the custodians of the rural environment and their increasing participation in the voluntary Smart Farming programme demonstrates their willingness and desire to focus on both improving their farm returns while enhancing the rural environment. I believe this updated water guidance will help farmers achieve these two objectives”.

Thomas Cooney, Smart Farming Programme Leader

“Clean water is essential to our health and wellbeing and conserving water is essential in the context of our changing climate. We must do more to halt deterioration in water quality so that we protect this most precious public resource. Smart Farming plays an important role in addressing water conservation and water quality in the farming sector. Successful implementation of the measures need wide and willing take up by the farming community.”

Mary Frances Rochford, EPA Programme Manager in the EPA’s Office of Environmental Sustainability

Catherine Seale-Duggan from the Local Authority Waters Programme welcomed the additional information provided on water protection and conservation. She noted that farming is so important for maintaining and improving water quality and she was delighted to see that farmers were being actively supported to achieve water quality improvements on their farms.

The Smart Farming Water Guidance can be downloaded here.

On water conservation, it encourages farmers to:

  1. Understand current water use, by studying the water bills.
  2. Locate & fix leaks to save money.
  3. Reduce use by recycling water.

Regarding protecting water quality, the guidance document encourages farmers to:

  1. Think about how the farmyard is “plumbed” to the local stream.
  2. Take specific actions to reduce risks of water pollution and subsequent penalties.
  3. Ensure that there is good drinking water quality, by properly constructing wells.
Joe Gallagher, National Federation of Group Water Schemes, Catherine Seale-Duggan, Local Authority Waters Programme and Thomas Cooney Smart Farming Programme Leader at the launch of the updated Smart Farming guidance on water conservation

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 4,829 water bodies, looking at trends and changes, determining which waterbodies are at risk and what could be causing this, and drafting environmental objectives and measures 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 that will be implemented after public consultation and sign off by the Minister.