The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has today launched a new website www.catchments.ie. which include maps and community-based stories which will make it easier for people to get information about water quality in Ireland and to get involved in protecting their local catchment.
Picture Credit: Mike Shaughnessy
The site has been developed in collaboration with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and the new Local Authority Waters and Communities Office.
Speaking at the launch of the website at the EPA’s annual water conference in Galway today, Dr Matt Crowe, Director of the EPA’s Office of Evidence and Assessment said “Clean, healthy and well-protected waters are a very important part of the fabric of Irish life. They support recreation and tourism, are the source of clean and wholesome drinking water for many of our citizens and add to the reputation of Ireland as a country with a green, clean and well protected environment. Water is all around us and this new dedicated website will make it easier for people to get information about the quality of their local river, lake, estuary or the hidden waters below ground. catchments.ie will also provide information about what people can do to help protect their local water catchment.”
Welcoming the launch of catchments.ie, Simon Coveney, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government said: “The protection and restoration of our waters can only be fully achieved when all sectors of society commit to that goal. As Minister with responsibility for ensuring that Ireland meets the targets set out in the Water Framework Directive I want to see a real bottom-up engagement on the value of our natural waters. This new website brings together a range of actors, information and communities and will be an invaluable resource to support the integrated approach to catchment management and water environment improvements that this Government is committed to.”
Explaining the name of catchments.ie, Paddy Morris, of the EPA’s Catchment Science and Management Unit, said “We all live in catchments, whether it is the catchment area for a school or hospital, or a catchment area for a local stream, river, lake or coastal water. For water, a catchment is simply defined as an area of land contributing to a river, lake or other waterbody. Living in a catchment that has healthy water can help a community have a better quality of life – the water can help make sure local people have high quality drinking water, support livelihoods like agriculture, recreational angling or water sports, and also support local ecosystems, so plants, animals, fish and insects that depend on having healthy water can thrive and flourish. Managing our water catchments well can help create happy and prosperous communities. Rather than being in conflict with growth, a clean and healthy water environment is the foundation for a successful society supported by a resilient economy.”
Matt Shortt, from the Local Authority Waters and Communities Office, highlighted how the website will make it easier for people to get information about water quality and to get involved in helping protect their local waters “Catchments.ie will provide people with easy access to a huge range of information connected to our water environment, and will be a major resource for local communities, local authority staff and our new community water officers. It will also provide people with case studies and stories of good practice that we can all learn from when working out what to do to protect our local water catchments.”