FAQs on Water Abstraction Registration

This list of FAQs was developed to assist you in answering any questions you may have on Water Abstraction.

Please contact edenabstractionsupport@epa.ie with any additional queries not covered by the FAQs listed below.

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FAQs on Water Abstractions

Why is a register of water abstractions being developed?

Development of a register of water abstractions is a requirement of the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC). The water abstraction register has been launched in accordance with the European Union (Water Policy) (Abstractions Registration) Regulations 2018 (S.I. No. 261 of 2018).

Responsible management of water resources involves ensuring that river flows, lake and groundwater levels can sustain aquatic environments, while also allowing use of water for drinking water supply and other agricultural, commercial, industrial and recreational purposes. To assess if our water resources are being managed sustainably, it is important to know what volume of water is being abstracted and from which rivers, lakes and groundwater.

This water abstraction register aims to capture this information and the data will be used in conjunction with information on discharges, flow and water level data, and water status to identify if there are any rivers, lakes or groundwater bodies that have unsustainable abstractions that require active management.

Are all water abstractions being registered?

No, only abstractions with a maximum abstraction equal to or greater than 25 cubic meters (25,000 litres) of water each day are being registered. The European Union (Water Policy) (Abstractions Registration) Regulations 2018 require people to register their water abstraction if they abstract 25 cubic meters (25,000 litres) of water or more each day.

What is the basis for the lower limit of 25 cubic meters (25,000 litres) of water each day for registration?

This volume was identified in the River Basin Management Plan 2018-2021 published by Mr. Eoghan Murphy T.D., Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government and is the volume now set out in the European Union (Water Policy) (Abstractions Registration) Regulations 2018.

This volume was set based on a technical assessment of the level of risk posed to water resources. It is considered that abstraction volumes below 25 cubic meters (25,000 litres) of water each day are unlikely to have a significant detrimental impact on the water environment and would therefore not require consideration when assessing the cumulative impact of abstractions on rivers, lakes and groundwater levels.

What constitutes a water abstraction?

The European Union (Water Policy) (Abstractions Registration) Regulations 2018 (S.I. 261 of 2018) define water abstraction as the doing of anything whereby water is removed or diverted by mechanical means, pipe, or any engineering structure or works from any part of the water environment, including anything whereby the water is so removed or diverted for the purpose of being transferred to another part of the water environment.

Why do I have to register my abstraction?

To assess whether abstractions are having an impact on rivers, lakes and groundwater levels in Ireland, the Agency require a comprehensive dataset of abstractions so they can cumulatively assess the potential impact of the abstractions on river flow and water levels.

The European Union (Water Policy) (Abstractions Registration) Regulations 2018 states that if an abstraction owner fails to notify the Agency in relation to a water abstraction that is equal to or greater than 25 cubic meters (25,000 litres) of water each day, or knowingly provides false information to the Agency, if found guilty of an offence, on summary conviction, they are liable to a Class A fine.

Is there a fee?

There is no fee to register.

What if I already submit information to the Agency or other public authorities in relation to my water abstraction?

Currently water abstraction information is not captured in a systematic manner and is not routinely updated. Therefore, there is a requirement for everyone to register their water abstraction even if they have previously reported their water abstraction to a public authority.

Is there a closing date for registering my abstraction?

The European Union (Water Policy) (Abstractions Registration) Regulations 2018 require that existing abstractions are registered within four months from the regulations coming into effect on 16 July 2018. Thereafter, for new abstractions, there is a requirement to register within one month of the commencement of the abstraction.

What information is required to complete my registration?

Information on the owner or manager of the abstraction and the registrant (if different) is required. Basic information on the abstraction point(s), which can also be determined using an interactive map; maximum daily and annual abstraction volume; abstraction type and purpose or use are also requested. The volumes may be based on measured flows or the Quick Abstraction Volume Estimator can be used where flows are un-measured (registration support documents).

What is an abstraction point?

The European Union (Water Policy) (Abstractions Registration) Regulations 2018 define an abstraction point as any borehole, well, sump or inlet pipe whose primary purpose is the supply of water for drinking or other purposes. Where more than one abstraction point joins to form a combined water supply, this shall be construed as a single abstraction for the purposes of the Regulations.

How do I calculate my abstraction volume?

If volumes are measured this information should be used.  Where abstraction volumes are not directly measured the Quick Abstraction Volume Estimator provided on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website can be used to estimate an abstraction volume (registration support documents).

How do I work out the GPS coordinates of my abstraction point(s)?

It is not necessary to know the GPS coordinates of abstraction points as they can be selected on an interactive map in the Water Abstractions Module. If the GPS coordinates of abstraction points are known in Irish National Grid format they can also be inputted to the Water Abstractions Module.

How do I register multiple abstractions?

Where there are multiple abstraction points within a combined water supply / abstraction regime these should go together under a single registration. A single abstraction would include, for example, several abstraction points on the same site or several abstraction points connected to the same water supply scheme. Another example of a single abstraction is taking water from multiple locations along a stretch of a river for irrigation of a farm. 

If there are two or more abstractions made up of unconnected abstraction points, then these abstractions should be registered separately.

Abstractions are registered using the Water Abstraction Module on the Agencies EDEN website (www.edenireland.ie). You will need to register for the EDEN website and request access to the module. If you have many abstractions to register, please contact edenabstractionsupport@epa.ie if you wish to investigate bulk uploading of these abstractions. The Water Abstractions Module is the most efficient way to register for smaller numbers of abstractions that require registration.

What is ‘bulk uploading’ of abstractions to the register?

Bulk uploading of abstractions to the register is an alternative method of submitting information for many abstractions. It involves inputting information to a spreadsheet template instead of using the Water Abstractions Module. If you have many abstractions to register (for instance, in the case of Irish Water) please contact edenabstractionsupport@epa.ie for information to discuss bulk uploading of these abstractions. The Water Abstractions Module on EDEN https://www.edenireland.ie/ is the most efficient way to register for smaller numbers of abstractions that require registration.

Will my data be shared with anyone?

In relation to the GDPR data protection requirements, details on the registrants or their agents will not be shared, but information on the abstraction may be shared with other public authorities with responsibility for water management in Ireland.

What will this data be used for?

The EPA does not plan to publish a detailed public abstraction register as it may contain information that may be commercially sensitive or information that could jeopardise the security of water supplies. However, national / sectoral summaries will be published to provide general information to stakeholders and to satisfy Water Framework Directive and European Environment Agency (EEA) reporting requirements.

This water abstraction register aims to capture this information and the data will be used in conjunction with information on discharges, flow and water level data, and water status to identify if there are any rivers, lakes or groundwater bodies that have unsustainable abstractions that require active management.

Will I get confirmation from the EPA of my registration?

Following submission of a registration in the Water Abstractions Module a summary of the registration will be shown with a Registration Number. The summary and Registration Number will also be emailed. The registration number should be retained as proof of registration of the abstraction.

What if I move or permanently cease abstracting water?

It is the registrant’s responsibility to de-register their water abstraction if they are no longer involved with the abstraction or permanently cease abstracting water. To de-register the abstraction, the registrant should contact the EPA using the email address edenabstractionsupport@epa.ie, and they should quote their registration code and request to de-register their abstraction.

What’s the procedure for transferring ownership/responsibility for an abstraction?

To transfer ownership/responsibility of an abstraction it will be necessary to contact the EPA using the email address edenabstractionsupport@epa.ie. The new owner/person responsible must re-register the abstraction after the previous owner has un-registered it.

What if my abstraction is only temporary?

Temporary abstractions of 25 cubic meters (25,000 litres) of water or more each day must be registered unless the abstraction is a one-off occurrence with a duration no more than 24 hours that is not going to be repeated at any regular or irregular interval. For all other temporary abstractions, a point of abstraction must be identified and the maximum abstraction should be used when registering. Once a one-off temporary abstraction ceases it should be de-registered.

What if I get someone to abstract water on my behalf?

In this instance, it is the responsibility of the person who requested the water abstraction to ensure that the water abstraction is registered.

What if I am not the landowner and I rent the land with the water abstraction?

The European Union (Water Policy) (Abstractions Registration) Regulations 2018 indicate that if the abstracted water is put to many uses by different people then all are liable in relation to the abstraction and therefore at least one of those people must register the abstraction. In the instance where land is rented, either the landowner or the person renting the land should arrange to have the abstraction registered.

How often do I need to update my registration?

When you are aware that information contained in the register in relation to that abstraction is incorrect you are required to update the registration. Where there are changes in the abstraction volumes that are significant you are required to update the registration. A significant change for example could be an increase or decrease of 25 cubic meters per day or more in abstracted volume or any change that would negate the need for the abstraction to be registered.

If the maximum daily abstraction volume decreases below 25 cubic metres per day, the abstraction should be de-registered by contacting edenabstractionsupport@epa.ie. If an abstraction is not registered and the maximum daily volume increases above 25 cubic metres the abstraction must be registered.

Is the registration equivalent to a licence?

The registration is not equivalent to a licence. The Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government indicated in the River Basin Management Plan 2018-2021 that public consultation on an appropriate control regime would take place during the second half of 2018. Therefore, this consultation regime will help inform the nature of any such licensing regime.