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EPA Water Quality in Ireland Report 2013 – 2018

Published on Tuesday, 10 Dec 2019
Minister Eoghan Murphy
  • The EPA Water Quality in Ireland Report for the period 2013-2018 is an update of the previous Water Quality in 2017: an indicators report covering the period 2013-2017.
  • The worrying trends previously identified in the 2017 report have continued – rivers are getting worse and we are losing more of our most pristine waters. 
  • However, 92% of groundwater bodies, 80% of coastal waters, 53% of rivers, 50% of lakes and 38% of estuaries were found to be of satisfactory quality. 

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said:

I welcome the publication of the EPA’s report and those aspects of the report that show progress is being made.

Overall, however, I am concerned that the adverse trends first reported by the EPA in their previous water quality indicators report have continued and that river water quality has continued to worsen, with a net decline of more than 5% in river water bodies.

It is now more important than ever that all sectors engage in this increasingly urgent situation and reduce their impact on water quality by delivering the necessary improvements in a timely and efficient way.  These actions are set out in the Government’s River Basin Management Plan 2018-2021.”

Among the actions the Government is taking to improve water quality include:

  • Taking action on agriculture - where agriculture is identified as a significant pressure, the Local Authorities are working with the newly established Agricultural Sustainability Support and Advice Programme to provide farmers with a free advisory service to improve water quality. This is a more targeted approach to deliver the right measure in the right place.
  • Taking action on Urban Waste Water - the River Basin Management Plan 2018-2021 plan includes 255 projects to improve waste water treatment in urban areas. 73 of these projects were completed prior to 2018 and a further 21 were completed during 2018. The plan identifies 57 priority areas where waste water is the sole significant pressure on waters at risk of pollution. As of 2018, Irish Water had improvement works completed, scheduled or ongoing at 35 of the 57 areas.
  • Our waste water system requires substantial and sustained investment: firstly, just to bring the systems up to the expected standards of a modern service; then also to provide for population growth and, finally, to build resilience in the face of climate change. The Government has approved the Irish Water Strategic Funding Plan 2019-2024 comprising of a €6.1bn investment in infrastructure and assets and €4.9bn in operating costs.