European Union Member States implement the Water Framework Directive through River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) in six-year cycles. This process allows for assessment, planning, implementation, and review at regular intervals. Ireland’s approach to water quality management has developed over the first and second RBMPs and will continue to evolve into the third cycle RBMP 2022 – 2027 to protect and improve water quality nationally and locally.

During the first and second cycles, LAWPRO learned a great deal about the issues affecting water quality. We now know the significant pressures and their effects at both national and local scales. The focus shifts to finding solutions to address the issues identified through local catchment assessments. Achieving the targets set out in the RBMPs will need a whole of society approach. There is a role for national and local government, private interests and stakeholders, local communities and individuals.

Good water quality is essential for public health and wellbeing. It supports growth in sectors like tourism, manufacturing, agri-foods, especially in rural areas. It is vital for biodiversity and a healthy natural environment. River Basin Management Plans are the roadmaps for achieving good water quality in our rivers, lakes, groundwater, estuaries, and coastal waters.