“Water is not a commercial product like any other but, rather, a heritage which must be protected defended and treated as such.” That statement is the opening line of the Water Framework Directive. It is a guiding principle for LAWPRO and underpins the value of water and everything we do.

The European Union Water Framework Directive (WFD) was signed in law in October 2000. It requires EU member States to achieve water quality of at least ‘good status’ in rivers, lakes, groundwater, estuaries and coastal waters, by 2027 at the latest. The WFD is a pioneering piece of legislation because it mandates public consultation, recognising the value of community involvement in decision making.

The WFD is implemented through River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) in three six-year cycles. Each cycle provides an opportunity to assess water conditions at different stages and set out actions to achieve good water quality status.

The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage is responsible for implementation of the WFD in Ireland. The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage leads on the development and implementation of national policies. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) leads on water quality technical expertise and evidence base. Local authorities are responsible for the development and implementation of RBMPs at a local level. LAWPRO is coordinating the response on behalf of the 31 local authorities.