Water Management


Catchments.ie - Water from source to sea


Catchments.ie shares science and stories about how public bodies and local communities help look after Ireland's 46 catchments, 583 subcatchments and 4829 waterbodies. 


Water is a precious resource, and is essential for all life on earth. Managing our water so it can meet our current and future needs and also continue to support the ecosystems that depend on it is vital for Ireland’s future.

Managing our water requires us to investigate, understand and integrate a huge range of information and complete several key steps, including:

Integrated Catchment Management - what is it?

Effective management of water requires us to look at the pressures on our water resources at an appropriate scale - large enough that we can take account of all the relevant information, but small enough to ensure that people who live in the area can easily relate to it. Experience around the world and in Ireland has shown that an integrated approach to managing individual catchments of an appropriate scale is necessary to protect and improve water resources. A 'catchment' is simply defined as an area contributing water to a river and its tributaries, with all the water ultimately running off to a single outlet.

Learn more about Integrated Catchment Management.

Sign up for the Catchments Newsletter

Our Catchments Newsletter is a quarterly publication that brings together science and stories from community groups, local authorities, researchers and others about the different ways we all work together to care for Ireland’s rivers, lakes, streams and coastal waters. We want these stories to inspire more people to join in and participate in looking after their local community’s environment, and particularly our waterbodies, but we can’t do it alone.

You can sign up on the frontpage of www.catchments.ie


The Water Framework Directive (WFD) Explained

This piece of EU legislation has become a major driver for achieving sustainable management of water in Ireland and across the EU. Under this directive, all inland and coastal waters must reach ‘Good’ ecological status. ‘Good ecological status’ means achieving satisfactory quality water, suitable for local communities' drinking, bathing, agricultural, industrial and recreational needs, while maintaining ecosystems that can support all the species of plants, birds, fish and animals that live in these aquatic habitats.

A key part of the Water Framework Directive is Article 14, which requires all member states to genuinely engage with the people who live, work and play in a catchment. To do this, it is important to understand how local communities live in their catchments and use their water. Therefore, it is critical that local communities are involved in management and decision making related to protecting and, where necessary, improving their water resources.

Ultimately, meeting the objectives of the WFD is not the aim - helping communities protect and improve a beautiful and diverse landscape with accessible healthy waterways that are productively used to support livelihoods, habitats and rich wildlife is the goal. However, the WFD is a powerful tool to help in achieving this goal.

Learn more about the Water Framework Directive

 Calendar of Water Events in Ireland

If you would like your event added to this calendar, please email catchments(at)epa.ie