The Institute of Public Administration (IPA) is currently engaged in a two-year research programme commissioned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to review Ireland’s water governance arrangements with a view to:
Informing the preparation of the Third-Cycle River Basin Management Plan (RBMP), 2022-2027, and
Sharing lessons learned from water governance with other challenging policy areas.
Ireland is required to produce a River Basin Management Plan under the European Union’s Water Framework Directive (WFD). These Plans set out the actions countries will take to improve water quality and achieve a ‘good’ ecological status in water bodies (rivers, lakes, estuaries and coastal waters) by 2027, which is the WFD goal. Water quality in Ireland has deteriorated over the past two decades. The River Basin Management Plan (RBMP) for Ireland 2018-2021 provides a more coordinated framework for improving the quality of our waters.
During 2020, a number of substantive papers were developed by the research team. These were published in spring 2021. The research acknowledges the significant progress made under the Second-Cycle RBMP, but also makes a series of recommendations to support those involved, both in consolidating aspects of governance where there has been good progress and in addressing areas of limited progress.