Biodiversity Action Plan
A national programme of measures to protect and enhance biodiversity across all Irish Water sites.
About this action plan
Irish Water recognises the urgent need to increase and accelerate efforts to halt the decline of biodiversity. We are committed to building infrastructure that protects and, where possible, enhances our ecosystems.
We have developed a biodiversity action plan (BAP) to help us conserve, enhance and work with the natural environment. This BAP outlines our strategic aims and the actions we will take to achieve them.
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.
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.
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. The 5 key benefits: Nature based solution to treat wastewater, Carbon sink, Biodiversity enhancement, Amenity, Education.
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. The 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. The 3 key benefits: 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). The 3 key benefits: 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: