Ireland's National Water Framework Directive Monitoring Programme, 2019-2021

Summary: This document presents Ireland’s national WFD monitoring programme for surface and groundwater bodies.

Ireland's National Water Framework Directive Monitoring Programme, 2019-2021 cover

Published: 2021

Pages: 50

Filesize: 7,176 KB

Format: pdf


This document presents Ireland’s national Water Framework Directive (WFD) monitoring programme for the period 2019-2021. The main purpose of the programme is to provide a coherent and comprehensive national overview of the ecological and chemical status of surface waters (rivers, lakes, transitional and coastal waters) and the quantitative and chemical status of groundwaters. This information is used, amongst other things, to track progress towards the achievement of the environmental objectives in Ireland’s national River Basin Management Plan (RBMP) and to assess change in the quality of Ireland’s aquatic environment over time.

This document provides a description of the type of monitoring to be undertaken, the number of water bodies in each water category to be monitored and the frequency of that monitoring. Specific information on individual water bodies in terms of the environmental quality elements to be monitored and the frequency of this monitoring is provided to public authorities electronically via the Water Framework Directive Application (WFDApp).

The programme is comprised of 3,169 surface and groundwater bodies. This includes 2,422 river water bodies, 224 lakes, 84 transitional water bodies, 47 coastal waters and 392 groundwater bodies. In addition, there are 159 sites used to assess groundwater quantitative status.

The programme includes two main types of monitoring networks. A surveillance monitoring network to provide a comprehensive and long-term picture of water body status across the State and an operational network to assess the status of water bodies at risk of failing to meet their environmental objectives and to assess if a change in the status of a water body is the result of a programme of measures. There are 287 surface water bodies and 259 groundwater bodies in the surveillance monitoring network and 2418 surface water bodies and 133 groundwater bodies in the operational monitoring network. A third type of monitoring known as investigative monitoring is undertaken on an ad-hoc basis when additional information on unknown exceedances, an unexplained phenomenon, or accidental pollution is required to be collected.

Any changes to the content of the programme for either operational or logistical reasons will be updated on an annual basis as necessary. Changes to the programme will be made with the full knowledge of the relevant public bodies.