182 projects aimed at improving water quality have been awarded €510,000 in grants through the Local Authority Waters Programme Community Water Development Fund.

Established in 2018, the fund supports communities and groups to deliver projects that enhance the quality of local streams, rivers, lakes and coastal areas.

The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage provides the funding which is administered by the participating local authorities.

As in previous years, applications for funding exceeded the budget allocated which increased from €380,000 to over €500,000 this year.

A total of 202 applications were received, with 182 awarded funding. The successful projects include:

  • River and habitat enhancement works such as planting of native species and hedgerow, pollinator-friendly planting, river-bank stabilisation, fencing and riparian buffer zones;
  • Match funding for large LEADER-funded projects with a biodiversity/water quality element;
  • Preparation of local plans such as feasibility studies, habitat management plans, ecological surveys and biodiversity action plans;
  • Awareness-raising initiatives such as river clean ups, biodiversity information boards, citizen science workshops, outdoor classrooms, rainwater harvesting, and enhancement of wetlands.

An additional €10,000 was awarded as part of the Blue Dot Programme to IRD Duhallow in Co. Cork and the Centre for Environmental Living and Training (CELT) in Co. Galway.

Blue Dots are catchments which are mostly unpolluted and are our best-quality waters.

Commenting on the announcement the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien said:

“I am pleased that my department funds this scheme, which is a great example of community engagement and public participation.

“The Community Water Development Fund will continue to be a key measure in the new revised and strengthened River Basin Management Plan, which I plan to launch later this year alongside my colleague Minister [of state] Malcolm Noonan.

“The plan aims to protect Ireland’s water quality, and to ensure we have a well-protected environment and vibrant communities for future generations,” the minster said.