LAWPRO catchment scientists work in specific catchment areas called Priority Areas for Action (PAAs). A comprehensive selection process in 2017 identified these PAAs. That process involved the following organisations, and Northern Ireland counterparts.

  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • All local authorities
  • Inland Fisheries Ireland
  • Office of Public Works
  • National Parks and Wildlife Service
  • Forest Service
  • Coillte
  • National Federation of Group Water Scheme
  • Irish Water
  • Teagasc
  • Department of Housing Local Government and Heritage
  • Department of Agriculture Food and Marine
  • Geological Survey of Ireland
  • Bord na Móna
  • Waterways Ireland
  • Sea Fisheries Protection Agency
  • Bord Iascaigh Mhara
  • Local Authority Waters Programme (formerly called the Local Authority Waters and Communities Office)

3rd Cycle Proposed Areas for Action for the Draft River Basin Management Plan for Ireland 2022 - 2027


The document included in this webpage outlines the methodology for selection of proposed Areas for Action listed in Appendix I of the Draft River Basin Management Plan for Ireland 2022 – 2027. These areas are proposed for focused action and collaboration by local authorities, public bodies, and stakeholders as part of implementation of the 3rd Cycle for implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive in Ireland.

The Areas for Action were selected and approved by each of the five Regional Operational Committees (ROCs) and the five Regional Water and Environment Management Committees (RMCs) which operate at Tier 3 of the Water Framework Directive Governance Structure.

The process for the selection of Areas for Action for the 3rd Cycle was an evolution of the methodology used for the 2nd Cycle River Basin Management Plan. A new framework was developed for the latest selection process to capture the broad range of catchment management activities being undertaken using the current resources available. The EPA, together with LAWPRO and each of the five ROCs agreed a shortlist of Areas for Action, which was approved by the RMCs. This shortlist was submitted to the Department of Housing, Local Government, and Heritage in May 2021 by LAWPRO on behalf of the Regional Committees.

The report on the methodology for selection of the Proposed Areas for Action can be viewed here

The list of Proposed Areas for Action can be viewed here

Selection Process for the 2nd Cycle 2018 - 2021


The process to select the Priority Areas for Action used several principles. The most important one was that water bodies should be At Risk of not achieving good or high water quality. It means that we are working in areas where water quality improvements need to be made. It also gave priority to following type of waterbodies: 

  • High status objective waterbodies more commonly referred to as Blue Dot waters 
  • Waterbodies in Protected Areas, that is waters that are used for drinking water supply, bathing, shellfish growing or waters that feed into habitats in Natural Heritage Areas (NHAs) and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) 
  • Waterbodies where the water quality has got worse or might worsen if we do not find the source of pollution 

The number of water bodies needed to be reduced, so the following additional principles were used :

  • Examine the water bodies where the river rises (headwaters) first
  • The PAA should include water bodies at a sub-catchment scale, where practical
  • Tackle multiple pollution sources together
  • Link the catchment areas to existing programmes and community group initiatives, where possible
  • PAAs should build on improvements or measures already planned
  • The PAAs should ensure an even distribution of actions to address different pollution sources and catchment types across the regions

Regional Management Committees agreed the list of proposed Priority Areas for Action. A short public consultation process followed it. The 189 Priority Areas selected are identified on the map below.

Local catchment assessment is the term used to describe the work we do in each of the Priority Areas for Action. To find out more, click here.

Updates on Progress to Date


We are keen to share our findings and recommendations on water quality with you in a clear and useful way.

Before you read our reports
We are keen to share our findings and recommendations on water quality with you in a clear and useful way. That is why we are developing a glossary of technical terms with plain English explanations. So, when you read our reports, expect to see some technical language but do not worry as we have explained these words and expressions using plain English. If you come across a technical term that is new to you, check to see if it is in our glossary (Link Available Soon). Our glossary is new, so we would appreciate your feedback and suggestions to improve it.

Updates on progress in the individual Priority Areas for Action can be viewed on Catchments.ie website.

There are two ways in which you can do this.

1. Name Search


This method is best for those who already know the name of their PAA. Catchments.ie provides a search function to allow you to easily list PAA’s of interest. From this screen you will be able to:

  1. See the current Progress status
  2. A description of the Progress
  3. Download a plain Desk Study Summary report
  4. View the location on a Map

To access this list please click here

2. Map Search


If you wish to search for progress based on location follow these instructions:

  1. Click on the link below
  2. Select “Taking Action” from the top menu
  3. Turn on the “WFD Areas For Action” layer
  4. Click on the layer for the location you are interested in
  5. The left hand side of the map will expand with information for the location you selected. (You may need to press the two down arrows to make the information visible)

To access the map please select here

More Information


If you want to find out more information on your local PAA, please contact us at paaqueries@lawaters.ie

If you would like to contact your local community water officer to find out about community projects in your area, go to the Communities Team Contacts

National water quality information and maps are available from www.catchments.ie and www.epa.ie