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  • Publication
    Progress in Implementation of the Water Framework Directive in Ireland
    Successful implementation of the Water Framework Directive is vital to water resources management in Ireland. Based on lessons learned from the 1st cycle of implementation, more effective governance arrangements have been put in place, the EPA has been given additional responsibilities and community engagement has been given a high priority. Integrated catchment management (ICM) has become the accepted philosophy and approach. ICM requires catchments to be the appropriate organising landscape unit for water management, which is undertaken at five scales: site/field; water body (almost 5,000 groundwater, river, lake, transitional and coastal); subcatchment (583); catchment (46) and river basin (one national and two international). A comprehensive characterisation process is being undertaken which allocates all WBs into At Risk, Not at Risk and Review categories, whereby At Risk WBs require actions and resources to improve the situation. Geoscientific information and understanding are critical to the characterisation process. Initial subcatchment and catchment characterisation is due for completion in early 2017. Consideration of environmental objectives and mitigation measures has commenced, and will be finalised for the River Basin Management Plan due for publication in December 2017. A new tool, the WFD Application, has been developed to enable ready access to water quality data and the outcomes of the characterisation work. The Application is being made available through the development of a new 'water hub' website called