Water quality management activities by all 31 Local Authorities are coordinated across a five-region structure. This supports a consistent approach to the implementation of the RBMP at both regional and local levels. Senior management from local authorities and the EPA meet at the Regional Water and Environment Management Committees. Specialist staff from local authorities and relevant public bodies meet at the Regional Water and Environment Operational Committees. The committees facilitate and foster collaboration and knowledge sharing between relevant public bodies. LAWPRO convenes the regional committees and provides a secretariat. See link for details of regional committee meetings minutes Regional Committees – Local Authority Water Programme (documents.lawaters.ie)
Water Framework Directive Governance in Ireland
The River Basin Management Plan for Ireland 2018 – 2021 introduced reformed governance structures and arrangements for implementation of the plan. This structure formally sets out arrangements for an integrated and co-operative working relationships between the relevant public bodies. LAWPRO plays a key role within this structure, both in membership of nearly all governance committees and convener of the regional committees. This structure fosters a collaborative approach and facilitates knowledge transfer between different levels of oversight and decision making. The structure is illustrated below.
The three tier governance structure steers water policy formation and implementation. This structure has facilitated greater collaboration and knowledge transfer across the relevant public bodies and stakeholders. The governance structure is key to the success of ongoing efforts to achieve the water quality goals of the Water Framework Directive in Ireland.
|Tier 1 –National Management and Oversight||Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage||Policy, necessary legislation and resourcing the Plan. Supported by the Water Policy Advisory Committee which has been established to assist the Minister.|
|Tier 2 – Technical implementation and reporting||Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)||The catchment characterisation process and assisting and advising the Minister.|
|Tier 3 – Regional Implementation||Local Authorities / LAWPRO||Co-ordinating the implementation of measures on the ground, and the local knowledge required for successful delivery of many potential measures.|
Local Authority Regional Structures
Local Authority Regional Water and Environment Management Committees
A local authority Chief Executive chairs each of the five Regional Management Committees. These committees are a forum for senior management of the respective local authorities to oversee implementation across LA structures. The committees are a conduit between decision making at different levels in the RBMP Governance Structure and local authorities.
Regional Water and Environment Operational Committees
Each of the five regions has a Regional Water and Environment Operational Committee, with membership drawn from local authorities and relevant public bodies. A local authority Director of Services chairs the committee. The operational committees are key to sharing knowledge and identifying areas for collaboration and implementation of measures.
The operational committees include representatives from over 15 different public organisations, not including local authorities
National Technical Implementation Group (NTIG)
The EPA convenes the National Technical Implementation Group, which comprises representatives from all relevant public bodies. NTIG meets approximately 4 times per year and LAWPRO attends all meetings. Technical matters raised at regional meetings, and those identified by LAWPRO, are brought to this committee for action.
National Coordination and Management Committee (NCMC)
This committee is convened by DHLGH and meets approximately 4 times per year. Membership comprises of DHLGH, EPA, Chairs of the Regional Water and Environment Management Committees and LAWPRO. The purpose of the committee is to oversee and monitor implementation of the River Basin Management Plan.
Water Policy Advisory Committee (WPAC)
The Water Policy Advisory Committee (WPAC) provides policy advice and assistance to the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage on implementing the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and on broader water resource issues. WPAC is also responsible for advising on and support for the making of River Basin Management Plans, including the programmes of measures as part of those Plans. WPAC regularly invites other organisations to present to it on topics of relevance. The membership of WPAC includes DHLGH, EPA, LAWPRO, CCMA, OPW, Irish Water, IFI, GSI, CRU, HSE, DAFM, NPWS and DH.
An Fórum Uisce
The purpose of An Fórum is to provide a vehicle for strengthening democratic input into decision making regarding water as a fundamental national asset. Such decisions are pivotal not only to society today but to the wider ecosystem and to posterity. More information can be obtained from Our role – An Foram Uisce (thewaterforum.ie)