What is Irish Water’s National Water Resources Plan (NWRP)?
The NWRP is a plan on how to provide a safe, secure and reliable water supply to our customers for the next 25 years, without causing adverse impact on the environment.
The objective of the NWRP is to set out how we intend to maintain the supply and demand for drinking water over the short, medium and long term whilst minimising the impact on the environment.
The first round of public consultation on the NWRP SEA Scoping Report has closed. We are now reviewing submissions and preparing a Consultation Report which will be published online in the coming months. Relevant feedback received from this consultation will be incorporated into the environmental reports and will be referred to when preparing the draft National Water Resources Plan.
How is the plan made?
The key objectives of our plan are to:
- Identify areas where there are current and future potential water supply shortfalls, taking into account normal and extreme weather conditions
- Assess the current and future water demand from homes, businesses, farms, and industry
- Consider the impacts of climate change on Ireland’s water resources
- Develop a drought plan advising measures to be taken before and during drought events
- Develop a plan detailing how we deal with the material that is produced as a result of treating our drinking water
- Identify, develop and assess options to help meet potential shortfalls in water supplies
- Assess the water resources available at a national level including lakes, rivers and groundwater
Public consultation will be a key element in ensuring members of the public and all interested parties have the chance to be part of the development of the NWRP.
The NWRP is subject to Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) as outlined in the European Union (EU) SEA Directive (2001/42/EC) and Appropriate Assessment (under the EU Habitats Directive). The associated environmental reports will be consulted on also.
Environmental Assessment and Consultation
Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Appropriate Assessment (AA) is being carried out in parallel with the development of the NWRP.
Members of the public, interested parties and environmental authorities are being invited to contribute to the development of the NWRP as part of the SEA and AA process through public consultation at keys stages, as outlined in the NWRP Consultation Roadmap.
The first round of public consultation to inform the development of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Appropriate Assessment (AA), the environmental reports that will accompany the NWRP, took place from 9 November to 22 December 2017.
We asked for feedback on the SEA Scoping Report and invited comments and suggestions for consideration at this stage. The following consultation questions were prepared to guide you in making a submission:
- Do you have any suggestions that you would like Irish Water to consider in the preparation of its National Water Resources Plan (NWRP)?
- Section 2.1 in Chapter 2 of the SEA Scoping Report outlines the objectives of the NWRP. Do you have any comments on these objectives?
- Irish Water has reviewed plans, policies and programmes relevant to the NWRP in Chapter 3 of the SEA Scoping Report. Are there any others that should be considered?
- Chapter 4 of the SEA Scoping Report sets out the current baseline environment conditions and future trends. The environmental issues are summarised in Table 4.4. Do you have any comments on these?
- Chapter 5 of the SEA Scoping Report sets out the environmental objectives that will be used to assess the NWRP and its potential effects on the environment. Table 5.1 summarises these objectives. Have you any comments on these?
- How would you like Irish Water to communicate with you as the plan progresses?
All submissions made on the SEA Scoping Report Consultation are now being reviewed and relevant feedback will be incorporated into the environmental reports. Submissions from individuals will be reported anonymously, while feedback from organisations will be attributed to them. Irish Water will refer to the environmental reports when preparing the draft National Water Resources Plan.
A further eight-week statutory public consultation will seek feedback on the Draft NWRP and associated SEA Environmental Report and Natura Impact Statement (NIS). We expect this will be in Summer 2018.
All feedback received during the public consultations will be reviewed by the NWRP team and relevant feedback will be incorporated into the final NWRP.
The SEA Statement will outline how environmental considerations have been integrated into the NWRP and how consultation influenced the development of the NWRP.
We are committed to continuously engaging with stakeholders and we encourage feedback as we work through the development of the NWRP.
What are the next steps?
A Consultation Report summarising the feedback received in the first round of consultation will be published alongside the updated environmental reports and the launch of the second round of public consultation on the draft NWRP, in Summer 2018.
The final NWRP will be published later in 2018. After this, we will undertake a review and update of the NWRP every five years at least. This review will assess the actions and objectives of the first NWRP and advise on new or updated approaches. The revised plan and associated environmental reports will again invite feedback during its development prior to adoption.
We are committed to sharing information with stakeholders as the plan progresses. A dedicated information service has been set up where members of the public and interested parties can contact the team via the following channels:
- Email: email@example.com
- Post: National Water Resources Plan, Irish Water, Colvill House, 24-26 Talbot Street, Dublin 1