DAFM announces funding to support water quality in Group Water Schemes (GWS) Drinking Water Catchments


The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, TD, has announced funding of €500,000 to implement targeted drinking water source protection actions in group water scheme catchments as part of the National Federation of Group Water Schemes (NFGWS) source protection strategy.

Last week marked ‘Water Quality Week’ and “I am delighted to announce this funding for the implementation of targeted drinking water source protection actions” the Minister said, adding “my Department and the agricultural sector recognise the importance of protecting drinking water sources while acknowledging agriculture has a key role to play in reducing any potential losses from both nutrient and pesticides.”

Agriculture and the minimisation of losses from nutrients and pesticides are considered a vital element in the protection of group water schemes. This proposal is being supported in collaboration with the Department of Housing, Planning and Heritage. This provides agriculture with the opportunity to deliver targeted measures to address agricultural pressures while enabling the development of future programmes.

This proposal will demonstrate practical support towards the protection of drinking water quality, biodiversity enhancement and climate action. The initiative will also provide an opportunity to trial new and innovative approaches, which, if successful, could be adopted more generally to assist ‘Ireland’ meet its WFD objectives as set out in current or future RBMP and its climate/biodiversity objectives.

Any findings or outcomes will assist and inform the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with the development of future agri-environmental actions.

The funding will be focused on seven group water schemes catchments that fall within, or close to, current Priority Areas for Action defined within Ireland’s 2nd River Basin Management Plan.

These catchments are largely impacted by agricultural pressures and the funding announced will help implement targeted measures, such as the creation of smart buffer zones in targeted areas along water courses, the promotion of alternatives to pesticide use, and the roll-out of educational initiatives highlighting the impacts of agricultural practices.