This conference took place on Saturday 26th November in the Collins Barracks Museum in Dublin. The Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO) organised the conference in collaboration with The Rivers Trust as a platform to showcase successful projects and initiatives by energetic and ambitious groups like Cuan Beo from Galway, Ahare River and Biodiversity Development Group from Wexford, and Geashill Tidy Towns from Offaly. The citizen science and river restoration work of community groups, rivers trusts, local development companies, LEADER, and charities like Seal Rescue Ireland were also highlighted.
In his opening address Malcolm Noonan, T.D., Minister for State for Heritage and Electoral Reform at the Department of Housing, Local Government, and Heritage said, “the importance of good water services and clean waters to protect public health, support economic growth and preserve our environment for present and future generations cannot be underestimated. However, we have urgent issues to address and a lot further to go if we are to achieve these goals.”
The conference was live streamed to online viewers and video recordings of all talks are now available on this page.
The conference included a workshop canvasing the views of community groups on the establishment of local catchment fora, to be introduced under the next River Basin Management Plan for Ireland, which will run until the end of 2027. This will place a greater focus on the 46 individual river catchment areas. The views expressed by participants in the workshop were documented to assist with establishing this new model of participation.
Dr Fran Igoe, Coordinator with LAWPRO commented, “the time is right for community groups to get more actively involved in delivering nature-based solutions such as raingardens, swales, and other vegetated overground solutions to manage surface water flows. These solutions need a multidisciplinary approach bringing together both expert and local knowledge to deliver benefits for water, biodiversity, climate, and pride of place.”
All-Ireland Director of The Rivers Trust, Mark Horton said, “I never cease to be amazed by the amount of community-driven activity across Ireland to protect and improve our precious freshwater environment. The conference highlighted this incredible movement and to understand the challenges communities face in meeting local issues head-on.”
The full conference programme is available here
Videos of the talks in each session are included below:
Opening and Welcome
Session 1: Communities Collaborating for Water Quality
Session 2: Opportunities to integrate Nature Based Solutions in the Urban & Rural Environments
Session 3: Citizen Science Initiatives
Session 4: Looking ahead: Community involvement in Catchment Management Plans
The online survey referenced in session 4 can be opened at this link https://consult.watersandcommunities.ie/en/content/catchment-community-forum-survey