Catchment News

Source-to-Tap in the River Derg catchment: pilot cross-border grant scheme in Donegal and Tyrone helps farmers protect rivers and drinking water

In July 2018, the Source-to-Tap project launched an innovative and exciting new pilot cross-border Land Incentive Scheme in the River Derg catchment upstream of Derg Water Treatment Works. The scheme will support farmers in adopting farming practices that help to protect the quality of river water that is the source of drinking water for communities in Counties Donegal and Tyrone.

Robin Bolton, CAFRE, Michael Chance, IFA (Irish Farmers’ Association) Donegal County Chairman, Diane Foster, Source to Tap Project Manager, Paul Harper, NI Water Director of Asset Delivery, Trudy Higgins, Irish Water, Environmental Strategy Lead, Mark Horton The Rivers Trust, and David Brown Deputy President UFU

The Land Incentive Scheme (LIS) in the River Derg catchment is part of a major €5.3 million cross-border EU INTERREG VA funded project called Source to Tap, which aims to improve water quality in rivers and lakes in the Erne and Derg catchment areas, which provide water that serves parts of counties Fermanagh, Tyrone, Donegal, Cavan, Leitrim and Longford.

“We are delighted to launch this initiative as part of the overall project, which will give the farming community the opportunity to apply for 100% funding to support farmers in making small changes in farming practices such as using a contractor to spray rushes and installing stock fencing on watercourses.”

Diane Foster, NI Water Project Manager

The overall aim of the scheme is to protect raw water quality at source by reducing contaminants getting into the water in the first place and raise awareness of the importance of protecting our precious drinking water resources.

“This project is win-win for both the environment and agriculture. Farmers understand the importance of water quality and want to help make a difference. This project will help to give them the advice and tools to do so. It is a great example of collaborative working and we are very pleased to be a part of it.”

David Brown, Ulster Farmers Union deputy president

The scheme will run from 25 July 2018 to 31 July 2020 and will be operated on a first-come, first-served basis through the Source to Tap project. The project employs three Project Officers who will work closely with farmers in the Derg area to guide them through the application process, and help them identify what improvements can be made on their farms to benefit both their farm businesses and the water environment.

“This is real money and will be hugely beneficial in contributing to the enhancement of farmland in the Derg Catchment area while ensuring the protection of our water source for generations to come.”

Michael Chance, Chairman of the Donegal Irish Farmers’ Association

Match-funding for the project has been provided by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government in Ireland.

“While this particular project directs funding towards improvement at source and this assists greatly with prevention of pollution, its impact will benefit complete communities in all walks of life and as such we fully support the initiative.”

Michael Clarke, County Tyrone Chairman of the Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers’ Association

Learn more:

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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.