Funding worth over €700,000 has been awarded to 155 water quality projects by the Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO) on World Water Day today (Friday, March 22).

Working on behalf of all local authorities to protect and restore good water quality, LAWPRO awarded the funding under the Community Water Development Fund open call 2024.

Local communities and groups could apply for financial assistance to support the projects and initiatives to enhance local water bodies and benefit water quality and biodiversity.

Since 2018, LAWPRO has made over €2.7 million available through this funding scheme. The types of projects approved for funding under this year’s open call include:

  • River and habitat enhancement work, such as planting of native tree species and hedgerows, pollinator friendly planting, river-bank stabilisation, fencing and installation of riparian buffer zones near water bodies (areas free of chemical and organic fertilisers, cultivation and spraying);
  • Preparation of reports: Feasibility studies, habitat management plans, ecological surveys, and hydromorphology studies;
  • Awareness raising initiatives such as citizen science workshops, biodiversity information boards, outdoor classrooms, river clean-ups, rainwater harvesting, and wetlands.

Further €500,000 was allocated to the new Catchment Support Fund, which will build the capacity of community groups to support the delivery of the River Basin Management Plan.

The Catchment Support Fund will be open for applications on LAWPRO’s website from Wednesday, March 27 until the closing date on Tuesday, April 16, 2024, at 5:00p.m.

“Community engagement is fundamental in dealing with local issues and the fund empowers groups to take action to benefit their local water bodies and the surrounding environment.

“Providing financial support to community groups to develop and grow is an important next step in achieving water quality,” director of services for LAWPRO, Anthony Coleman said.

LAWPRO water quality projects

Minister of State with responsibility for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan welcomed the funding announced by LAWPRO which totals over €1.2 million.

“Grants totalling €702,605 will fund the grassroots work of local communities and voluntary groups to raise awareness of our rivers, lakes and streams and the biodiversity they support.

“A further €500,000 under the new LAWPRO Catchment Support Fund will help NGOs working on water quality to develop and strengthen the skills, processes, and resources they need to grow.

Minister Noonan pictured with LAWPRO regional coordinator, Margaret Keegan; along with LAWPRO staff, local Stoneybatter residents and representatives from Bí Urban social enterprise

“Each and every project that these funds support will play a part in achieving our collective goal of improving water quality,” Minister Noonan said following the announcement.

LAWPRO was established to fulfil requirements under the European Union Water Framework Directive and is funded by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

The programme coordinates the efforts of local authorities and other public bodies in the implementation of Ireland’s River Basin Management Plan.