Ireland’s surface waters and groundwater resources are an important natural asset. Clean, healthy water is essential for our economy, our aquatic wildlife and for our health and well-being. Our surface water resource is comprised of 84,800 km of mapped river channel, 12,000 lakes, hundreds of estuaries and over 14,000 km2 of coastal waters.

This important natural resource is under threat from a range of human activities that cause water pollution and damage the physical integrity of water bodies and habitats.

The aim of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) is to maintain high and good status waters where they exist and prevent deterioration of status in all waters. This will be achieved by identifying key threats to water quality on a catchment basis and developing new evidence-based measures for mitigation of threats supported by national and local level schemes and initiatives.