Water Framework Directive and River Basin Management Plan

The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) is a significant piece of water legislation introduced in 2000. It adopts a holistic approach covering all our natural waters: rivers, lakes, estuaries, coastal waters and ground water, as well as their dependent wetlands. The WFD recognises that waters do not stop at administrative boundaries and need to be managed on a catchment basis, often involving more than one local authority. A significant inclusion in the WFD is the important role of communities and water users in helping to identifying local issues and solutions.  


The WFD sets out ambitious targets and requires all waters to be at ‘good ecological status’ by 2027, at the latest. This is to be achieved through River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) developed and implemented in six-year cycles.  The Government of Ireland will prepare the third cycle plan to cover the period 2022 to 2027 and the draft plan will be published for public consultation in early 2021.

Kilkenny and Tipperary County Councils are the lead authorities for the Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO), a shared service to coordinate the local authorities’ statutory obligations for the development and implementation of RBMPs. For more on LAWPRO visit: www.lawaters.ie.

Further information on water quality, the WFD and the RBMPs visit: www.catchments.ie.

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