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1. Water Governance and Building Partnerships


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This presentation was given as part of the EPA-funded Catchment Science and Management Course focusing on Integrated Catchment Management, held in June 2015. This course was delivered by RPS Consultants. If you have any queries or comments, or wish to use the material in this presentation, please contact

It is increasingly being recognised internationally that integrated catchment management (ICM) is a useful organising framework for tackling the ongoing challenge of balancing sustainable use and development of our natural resource, against achieving environmental goals. The basic principles of ICM (Williams, 2012) are to:

• Take a holistic and integrated approach to the management of land, biodiversity, water and community resources at the water catchment scale;
• Involve communities in planning and managing their landscapes; and
• Find a balance between resource use and resource conservation

ICM is now well established in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. In Europe the ICM approach has been proposed as being required to achieve effective water and catchment management, and is the approach being promoted by DEFRA for the UK, where it is called the “Catchment Based Approach” (CaBA). The principles and methodologies behind ICM sit well within the context of the Water Framework Directive with its aims and objectives for good water quality, sustainable development and public participation in water resource management. In Ireland it is proposed that the ICM approach will underlie the work and philosophy in developing and implementing future River Basin Management Plans.

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1. Water Governance and Building Partnerships

  1. 1. Water Governance and Building Partnerships Marie Archbold EPA WFD Integration & Coordination Unit (Catchment Science & Management Unit???)
  2. 2. Overview Context Regulation Timetable for 2nd Cycle RBMP Revised Governance structure DECLG EPA Local Authorities Conclusion
  3. 3. Some Context Significant change in approach taken in 1st Cycle 2 new WFD Documents from DECLG –July 2014 S.I. No. 350 of 2014 Timetable & Work Programme for the Development of RBMP – Consultation Paper These have been anticipated for about 2 years
  4. 4. S.I. 350 of 2014  Amends S.I. No. 722 of 2003  Adds to role of EPA:  Review of impact of human activities (Reg. 4 (1)(b) & 5(2)(b)  Advise/assist Minister on establishment of Env. Objectives, PoMs and RBMPs (Reg. 4(2))  Single RBMP mentioned  DECLG to deal with economic analysis
  5. 5. S.I. 350 of 2014  Role of LAs changed somewhat  LAs to:  Provide support & assistance to the Minister and EPA (Reg. 4(3)):  Characterisation  Establishment of Env. Objectives  Making RBMPs  Development of PoMs  Specified LAs to act as coordinating authorities (Reg. 4(6))
  6. 6. Timetable & Work Programme for 2nd Cycle RBMPs (DECLG, July 2014)  Delay from end 2015 to second half 2017 for production of RBMP.  New governance & administrative arrangements  Single national approach for development of RBMPs – “technical analysis & planning tasks will be advanced on the basis of appropriate water or catchment management units to be decided by EPA”.  Single administrative arrangement for coordination with NI
  7. 7. Revised Governance Structures • Led by DoECLG • Policy, regulations and resources • Sign-off of river basin management plans Tier 1: National Management & Oversight • Led by EPA • Monitoring, assessment and reporting • Evaluation and implementation of measures • Template for river basin management plans • Monitoring of enforcement tasks and environmental outcomes Tier 2: National Technical Implementation and Reporting • Led by the lead Coordinating Authority • Local authority monitoring, licensing and enforcement actions • Implementation of Programmes of Measures by relevant public bodies, tracking and reporting, in consultation with EPA Tier 3: Regional Implementation via Water Networks
  8. 8.  Proposed new responsibilities for EPA:  Drafting env objectives  Undertaking catchment characterisation  Preparing template RBMPs  Compiling common PoMs for further development and input from LAs  Proposed that LAs will:  Lead implementation and enforcement of measures on the ground  Have key responsibilities ensuring compliance and public participation Timetable & Work Programme for 2nd Cycle RBMPs (DECLG, July 2014)
  9. 9. Tier 2 WFD Element Purpose Draft Dates and Periods Publish draft timetable & work programme for 2015-2021 River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs), including statement of the consultation measures to be taken (this consultation). Sets out the draft timetable & work programme to produce the 2nd cycle RBMPS. Highlights the mile stones in the RBMP cycle where consultation is required and the measures we will undertake to ensure involvement in the consultation process. July 2014 (consultation to close 31 January 2015) Publish interim overview of the Significant Water Management Issues (SWMI) in Ireland Identifies significant water management issues to be addressed in the 2nd draft RBMPs and to facilitate public consultation July 2015 Consultation Period following publication of SWMI for receipt of comments Opportunity to comment on the significant water management issues. July 2015 to December 2015 Publish revised Significant Water Management Issues overview and characterisation report required under( Article 5 of the Water Framework Directive Provides technical details of the characterisation of the river basin district, review of the environmental impact of human activity and economic analysis of water use previously identified December 2015 Publish Draft River Basin Management Plan for 2015-2021 & provide explanation for any extended deadlines and less stringent environmental objectives proposed Sets out the objectives for the water environment and presents the strategy for meeting those objectives December 2016 Consultation Period following publication of Draft RBMP for receipt of comments Opportunity to comment on the draft plans Consultation will be facilitated both through written consultation and online December 2016 to June 2017 Publish updated RBMP for 2015-2021 Sets out objectives for the water environment & the strategies for meeting those objectives between 2012 - 2021 by December 2017
  10. 10. Chaired by DECLG  All governmental and state agency stakeholders including: EPA, DAFM, DCENR, HSE, D/ Health, CER, DAHG, CCMA, OPW  Role?  Provide policy advice and assistance to Minister on implementation of WFD and broader water resource issues (including economic)  Provide advice on and support for the making of RBMPs including Programmes of Measures and undertaking economic analysis  Sign-off of river basin management plans Tier 1: Water Policy Advisory Committee (WPAC)
  11. 11. Tier 2: Role of EPA  Link the work of business units and disciplines relevant to water management across all Offices in the EPA.  Lead and manage a network for cooperation, communication and consultation with stakeholders inside and outside the EPA.  Undertake catchment characterisation, using the S-P-R model for environmental management, with the assistance of other EPA staff, LA staff and PAs.  Coordinate the evaluation of mitigation measures with relevant EPA staff and external stakeholders.  Produce the template river basin management plan (RBMP).  Meet the deadlines for EPA responsibilities in the recent DECLG Consultation Document on RBMPs.
  12. 12. Tier 2: EPA  EPA recognised that while specific sections/disciplines/organisations all have crucial roles, successful implementation of the WFD and catchment management will not be successful unless there is a cross-cutting/cross-linking process.  WFD I&C Unit is intended to provide this input in undertaking the EPA responsibilities.
  13. 13. EPA WFD Integration & Coordination Unit  The WFD I&C Unit will undertake both original work and, as the name says, integrate and coordinate the work of others.  Success will be achieved with:  The input of staff and sections in EPA  The input of LAs and WFD Office staff  The input of other agencies, such as IFI and MI  An effective networking, consultation and “working together” process  Using catchments as our “organising framework”
  14. 14. How will we build the partnerships?  Working together within the DECLG, EPA, Local Authorities and other stakeholders on:  Template River Basin Management Plan  Characterisation –  Get buy-in for methodology  Output of Tier 2  Tier 3 – provide scientific guidance on the approach to determining the most appropriate PoMs  Supporting the WFD Offices by providing the science  Activate Engagement is essential Twitter: @EPACatchments Email:
  15. 15. NIECE Network Launched November 2014
  16. 16. Building Partnerships: Network Members  31 Local Authorities, RBDs, CCMA  DECLG, DAFM, DAHG, DCENR, CER  IFI, MI, GSI, NPWS, EPA, Teagasc, HSE, ESB, OPW, HSA, LGMA, Met Éireann, Regional Authorities  NIEA  Waterways Ireland, The Heritage Council, Tourism Ireland  Irish Water, Coillte, Bord Na Mona  SWAN, NFGWS, An Taisce ……………… Twitter: @EPACatchments Email:
  17. 17. What will the Network do?  Joint working arrangements  Main learnings from the 1st Cycle  Mechanism for a consistent technical approach nationally.  Support National Implementation Group and working groups  Transfer of knowledge, guidance, ideas and learning  Capacity building  Support the WFD offices on engagement with local communities Twitter: @EPACatchments Email:
  18. 18. Network Activity to Date Network has set up/continued:  National Implementation Group March, 2015  Working Groups Characterisation Planning Agricultural Measures Monitoring Hydromorphology Public Participation Information Exchange  Engagement with SERBD/ WRBD on Characterisation and Planning  Catchment Science and Management Training Course Twitter: @EPACatchments Email:
  19. 19. Tier 3: Local Authorities  Two components: Implementation - LA Env Sections and Public Authorities Public Participation – New WFD Offices  3 Principle Roles for New LA WFD Office Coordination of LA activities (and PA’s) Mobilising Community Participation Support to Minister & EPA
  20. 20. Model LANWFD Office + LA Community Officers + LA Environmental Awareness & Heritage Officers “Mobilising communities towards environmental sustainability” Local Community Water Management Plans LA WFD Officer + LA Environmental Enforcement Staff + Inland Fisheries Ireland + Measures + Critical Source Areas County Water Management Plans E nforcement Agencies LA National WFD Office Lead Local Authority Local Authorities National WFD Committee Tier 3: Public Participation & Regional Implementation Oversight & advice on implementation. Coordination of community actions. Stakeholder in development of County Water Management Plan (Reps from Public Participation Network) Oversight, coordination, implementation (CCMA Environment Committee, Lead LA, EPA, DECLG, RSG, LANWFD Office) Collaborative Networks Public Participation Network E nvironmental Pillar Local Authority Environment Departments Regional coordination & implementation, collaboration with public bodies. (DOSs Environment, reps of public bodies, LANWFD Office) River Basin Management Plan & Catchment Management Plans Regional Steering Groups Working Groups (as required) Agriculture Industry Planning
  21. 21. Proposed Structure of new WFD Offices  3 Coordinators  3 Support Officers Funding Marketing, Education & Communications IT, GIS, Websites, Social Media  12 Community Water Officers  LA Environmental Awareness Officers  LA Community Officers  LA Environmental Staff  Virtual Office, geographically dispersed
  22. 22. Three Tier Interlocking Framework Tier 1: National Management & Oversight Tier 3: Regional Implementation via Water Networks Tier 2: National Technical Implementation and Reporting  Implementation of the WFD will be successful with all three tiers of the WFD Framework Governance working together.
  23. 23. Conclusion  The science will be the building block for engagement at Tier 2 and 3  It will focus where measures and management strategies are needed  Highlight where public participation may be most effective – important to pick areas where groups can see they can make a difference  But also essential to get public involvement in protection as well as improvement  Public Participation and Awareness is key to implementation and future restoration/protection  Limited previous experience of Public Participation in Ireland so a lot of learning ahead
  24. 24. “It’s people who save rivers, not plans ……” (quote from: “Saving Eden: A Manifesto”)