Irish Water has adopted the Framework Plan for the National Water Resources Plan (NWRP) which will safeguard public health, support growth and meet the challenges of climate change over the next 25 years
The NWRP is Ireland’s first 25-year strategic plan enabling us to move towards safe, secure, reliable, and sustainable public water supplies for all of our customers and communities, whilst safeguarding public health and the environment.
Following on from a statutory public consultation on Phase 1 of the NWRP, the draft Framework Plan and associated environmental reports, the submissions and observations received from public consultation were taken into consideration, and the Framework Plan updated.
The Framework Plan accompanied by a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Statement and an Appropriate Assessment Determination has now been adopted. A consultation report summarising feedback received during the public consultation has also been published. The NWRP Framework Plan and all associated reports can be viewed and downloaded.
Commenting on the NWRP final Framework Plan, Angela Ryan, Water Resource Strategy Specialist with Irish Water, said, “Safeguarding Ireland’s precious water resources is a top priority for Irish Water. With increasing pressure to meet the current demand for water as a result of population growth, climate change, and our changing environmental regulations, it is essential that we plan ahead. The first National Water Resources Plan will enable us to do that in a sustainable way whilst also supporting economic development and population growth.
“How we choose to plan our water resources today will determine the water supply we can provide now and into the future. The Three Pillar approach of ‘Use Less’, ‘Lose Less’ and ‘Supply Smarter’ allows Irish Water to consider the broadest possible range of solutions through the development of the NWRP. We would like to thank everyone who made a submission to this consultation process.”
They were 84 submissions received in total, including responses from the Office of the Planning Regulator, the Eastern and Midlands Regional Assembly, the Southern Regional Assembly and local authorities in relation to national policy for growth and development.
The public consultation was available on the NWRP website from 8 December 2020 until 16 February 2021. The consultation was extended twice with at the request of stakeholders with consultation finally closing on 12 March 2021. Hard copies of the public consultation material were available for public display in 29 local authority offices and at two county libraries for the duration of the consultation period. Irish Water also facilitated a webinar for interested members of the public.
Phase 2 of the NWRP comprises the development of four Regional Water Resources Plans (RWRPs);
Regional Water Resources Plan: Eastern & Midlands
Regional Water Resources Plan: North West
Regional Water Resources Plan: South West
Regional Water Resources Plan: South East
Each regional plan will be consulted in the same way, comprising both non-statutory screening and scoping consultation with environmental authorities, followed by statutory public consultation, during 2021 and 2022.
Consultation on the SEA Scoping Report for the first Regional Water Resources Plan: Eastern & Midlands will take place shortly. The SEA Scoping Report will be provided to specified environmental authorities, for the purposes of initial, non-statutory consultation on the scoping of the SEA.
Following that process, the feedback obtained will be considered and reflected in the documents published for public consultation later this year comprising the draft Regional Water Resources Plan: Eastern & Midlands and associated SEA Environmental Report and Natural Impact Statement.
That public consultation process will allow any interested parties to provide feedback on the draft Regional Water Resources Plan: Eastern & Midlands, including SEA and AA, in the usual way.