Transitional (estuarine) and coastal waters

The Environmental Protection Agency undertakes surveys of the water quality of estuaries and near shore coastal waters.

Most of our coastal waters are of good or high status with few showing signs of disturbance. For estuaries the picture is different with the majority at less than good status. This reflects the position of our estuarine waters as areas of intensive development and the ultimate receptors of upstream catchment pressures.  

The latest Water Quality report is an assessment of the main pressures and their impact on transitional and coastal waters with an overview of the water quality and status of estuarine and coastal waters around Ireland.


Monitoring Programme

The estuarine and coastal waters monitoring programme has now been replaced by the Water Framework Directive (WFD) Monitoring Programme which became operational on the 22nd December 2006. Under the WFD, estuarine waters are now known as transitional waters.

The new WFD programme for transitional and coastal waters is to be undertaken by the Environmental Protection Agency in collaboration with the Marine Institute, Central Fisheries Board and National Parks and Wildlife Service.

In the new programme a total of 117 water bodies consisting of 82 transitional and 35 coastal will be monitored.


Learn more

Find out more about the new Water Framework Monitoring Programme.


Transitional and coastal water quality reports and maps

You can find the latest transitional and coastal water quality information in our Water Quality reports.

Some additonal historical reports for estuarine and coastal waters for 2001-2005 and 2007-2009 are available here

Estuarine water quality can also be viewed on Envision, the EPA's Interactive Maps website and also on