Irish Water's Biodiversity Action Plan

A national programme of measures to protect and enhance biodiversity across all Irish Water sites.

Location
Nationwide
Status
In Progress
Type
Not Applicable

Our commitment

We’re committed to protecting Ireland’s terrestrial and aquatic species in all our activities. By working responsibly, we can play our part to halt the decline of Ireland’s rich biodiversity. We deliver clean drinking water across the country and return treated wastewater safely to the environment. This means our sites cross a range of natural habitats.

It is our responsibility to protect these healthy ecosystems that benefit us all. A thriving natural environment helps provide us with food, quality drinking water and clean air. A programme of works is now underway to protect and enhance biodiversity across our sites.

31,000+
Different species have been recorded in Ireland
1,000
Natural locations where we abstract water
1.6m
Litres of wastewater is treated daily
85
Actions implemented across our sites to date

What is involved?

We manage a range of sites across Ireland. The BAP will give all site managers the tools to manage each site in ways that will benefit and enhance biodiversity. With assistance from our ecologists, site managers will be able to tailor biodiversity enhancement measures to suit each individual site. This will reduce site maintenance costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions. The 7 key objectives of the BAP can be implemented immediately. They are detailed below.

7 objectives of the Biodiversity Action Plan

Objective 1

All Irish Water sites will have a set of measures that will enhance and protect biodiversity.

Key benefits: Managers of Irish Water sites will be issued with resources to support the enhancement and management of biodiversity on their sites.

Objective 2

Raise awareness and provide educational supports to Irish Water staff and its partners. 

Key benefits: Empower others to act in ways that will better support nature and benefit wider communities.

Objective 3

Ensure “no net loss” of biodiversity across Irish Water sites when carrying out activities or delivering plans.

Key benefits: Biodiversity will be protected for all new Irish Water developments. Learn more about the Appropriate Assessment.

Objective 4

Implement actions from the All Ireland Pollinator Plan across all Irish Water sites to support and increase our pollinator population.

Key benefits: Aid pollinator recovery which will benefit the greater natural environment.

Objective 5

Promote the use of nature-based solutions for water protection and wastewater treatment. 

Key benefits: Promote the use of nature-based solutions for water protection and wastewater treatment. 

Objective 6

Management of invasive alien species on Irish Water sites.

Key benefits: Increase biodiversity on our sites and reduce risks to our assets.

Objective 7

Collaborate with key internal and external stakeholders and the wider community, in protecting and enhancing biodiversity.

Key benefits: Enable us to share and develop in other areas, ensuring the most appropriate and efficient actions are implemented. 

Active Biodiversity Action Plan sites

Below are some of the sites where biodiversity actions are in progress. Key benefits are highlighted.

Dunhill Integrated Constructed Wetlands (ICW)

The first ICW in Ireland has been operational since 2000, in this time the 10 hectares site has provided a valuable habitat for a wide range of wildlife along with treating wastewater from local communities. An integrated constructed wetland is a type of sustainable wastewater treatment system that is designed to look and function as a natural wetland does.

  • Nature based solution to treat wastewater
  • Carbon sink
  • Biodiversity enhancement
  • Amenity
  • Education

Lough Guitane

Working with the Forest Service, we are planning for the establishment of 5.27 hectares riparian woodland at our WTP site that will provide multiple benefits. Riparian woodland is a unique type of woodland that grows alongside our rivers and lakes, only native tree species will be planted here.

3 key benefits of riparian woodland 

  • Source protection
  • Carbon sink
  • Biodiversity enhancement 

Ballymore Water Treatment (WTP)

The largest water treatment plant in Ireland (56ha) has been implementing biodiversity enhancement measures for several years, habitats here include wildflower meadows and native woodland.

  • Biodiversity enhancement
  • Carbon sink
  • Education

Waterford Wastewater Treatment Plant (WTP)

Ongoing biodiversity enhancement work at this large 12 hectares site includes woodland management and wildflower meadows that complement the adjacent Lower River Suir Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

  • Biodiversity enhancement
  • Carbon sink
  • Green infrastructure

What are the benefits of biodiversity?

Providing sustainable water and wastewater services relies on a natural and biodiverse ecosystem. This places biodiversity at the core of Irish Water’s business. The benefits of biodiversity are clear when it comes to protecting the quality of our drinking water and providing wetland-based wastewater treatment. We recognise, though, that all of our sites and activities interact with ecosystems and there are many more benefits. Supporting a meadow or woodland habitat, for example, will reduce a site’s operational needs.

​The actions undertaken as part of this action plan will:

Improve drinking water quality

Protect threatened ecosystems

Enhance biodiversity

Reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Lower site maintenance costs

Ensure compliance with regulations

Education

Collaboration

Amenity (Health and Wellbeing)

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