Irish Water publishes its draft Framework Plan, the first phase of its National Water Resources Plan, for consultation

To safeguard public health, facilitate growth and meet the challenges of climate change over the next 25 years

Irish Water has published the first phase, the draft Framework Plan of the National Water Resources Plan (NWRP), for public consultation. The NWRP is Ireland’s first 25-year strategic plan enabling us to move towards safe, secure, reliable and sustainable water supplies for all of our customers and communities, whilst safeguarding public health and the environment.

Irish Water publishes its draft Framework Plan, the first phase of its National Water Resources Plan, for consultation

NWRP Infographic

For the first time, the NWRP will provide a country-wide analysis to identify the water we have, the water we use, the water we need and any potential risk to water quality. It sets out the methods and options to meet these shortfalls in a resilient and environmentally sustainable way and is accompanied by a Strategic Environmental Assessment Environmental Report and Natura Impact Statement, which looks at how our plan considers its impact on the environment.

 

The National Water Resources Plan will:

 

  • calculate the demand for water from homes, businesses, and industry now and into the future
  • assess the amount of water available in existing supplies
  • assess the impact of weather events such as drought on our water supplies
  • identify areas where there is not enough water supply to meet demand, or where there is a risk to water quality.

 

Commenting on the NWRP draft Framework Plan, Sean Laffey, Head of Asset Management with Irish Water said: “Our infrastructure is under increasing pressure to meet the current demand for water as a result of population growth, climate change, and our changing environment. To prevent unplanned water outages, water conservation orders, reductions in pressure or restrictions to water supplies, we have to plan ahead. Irish Water’s first National Water Resources Plan will enable us to do that in a sustainable way whilst also supporting economic and population growth. The National Planning Framework (NPF), the key strategic plan for shaping the future growth and development of Ireland out to the year 2040, anticipates a population increase of 1 million people and the creation of 660,000 net new jobs in the economy by 2040. It is estimated that 34,000 houses will have to be built each year for the next decade just to meet the demand of our growing population. Over 380,000 jobs are supported directly by foreign and direct investment, many of which are in water intensive industries such as manufacturing and pharmaceuticals. How we choose to plan our water resources today will determine the water supply we can provide now and into the future. We are inviting the public to play a role in shaping how we plan our water supply now and into the future by making a submission to this consultation process.”

 

A 10-week public consultation will seek feedback on the NWRP Draft Framework Plan and associated environmental reports from December 8 until February 16 2021. Following this consultation period we will finalise and adopt the Framework Plan, and commence the Phase 2 development of four Regional Water Resources Plans which will set out the options to address identified needs across all of our supplies. We will be again by seeking the public’s views as each of the Regional Plans will be subject to public consultation.

 

The reports can also be viewed online and downloaded at www.water.ie/nwrp and comments and feedback sent to Irish Water as follows:

 

Email: nwrp@water.ie

Post: National Water Resources Plan, Irish Water, PO Box 13216, Glenageary, Co. Dublin

 

The documents can also be viewed at your Local Authority’s (LA) planning office or County Library (depending on LA) during their normal opening hours for 10 weeks ending on Tuesday February 16. For more information please visit www.water.ie/nwrp

 

Draft Framework Plan

 

Phase one of the development of the NWRP consists of a draft Framework Plan which we are currently consulting on with the accompanying SEA Environmental Report and Natura Impact Statement.

 

The draft Framework Plan considers:

 

  • How we assess water quantity need through the Supply Demand Balance
  • How we assess water quality and reliability need by looking at how our existing assets are performing
  • How we address sustainability by ensuring that all new options for water supply must be based on conservative approaches to protecting water sources
  • Our Options Assessment Process – how we find solutions to address the needs we have identified.

 

Phase 2 comprises four Regional Water Resources Plans each of which will be subject to Strategic Environmental Assessment and Appropriate Assessment. Each of the four regions will also have their own public consultation phases. These public consultations will take place throughout 2021.

 

The four Individual Regional Water Resources Plans will cover:

 

  • The North West Region (Group Area 1)
  • The South West Region (Group Area 2)
  • The South East Region (Group Area 3)
  • The Eastern and Midlands Region (Group Area 4).

 

Consultation Questions:

 

  1. Do you have any suggestions that you would like Irish Water to consider as part of the draft framework plan?
  2. Do you have any suggestions that you would like Irish Water to consider as part of how we assess supply/demand balance, water quality, quantity and resilience?
  3. The draft Framework Plan sets out Irish Water’s methodology to find high level solutions to address short, medium and long-term issues. Do you have any comments on our methodology?
  4. Do you have any comments on the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Environmental Report and associated Natura Impact Statement (NIS) which accompanies the draft Framework Plan?
  5. The project roadmap has been updated. Do you have any comments or feedback on this?
  6. How would you like Irish Water to communicate with you as the NWRP progresses?

 

Next Steps:

 

The final Framework Plan will be adopted in early 2021, alongside the SEA Statement and AA Determination. The SEA statement will outline the issues raised and demonstrate the amendments that were made to the Framework Plan as a result of the consultation. This will be followed by public consultation of the four Regional Water Resources Plans next year each of which will be subject to Strategic Environmental Assessment and Appropriate Assessment. Once adopted, The Framework Plan and the four Regional Water Resources Plans will together comprise Irish Water’s NWRP.

 

Legislative context:

 

The context of the NWRP is grounded in legislation and Government policy for water services, growth and economic development, protection of the environment and climate change adaptation. The key policies feeding into the NWRP are:

 

  • Water Services Policy Statement (WSPS)
  • Project Ireland 2040- National Planning Framework (NPF)
  • Water Framework Directive (WFD) & River Basin Management Plan (RBMP) for Ireland
  • National Adaptation Plan (NAP) and Adaptation Plan for Water Quality and Water Services Infrastructure
  • Recast Drinking Water Directive (DWD).

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