21st March

Deterioration in ‘pristine’ status of Irish waters

Ireland has failed to meet a planned national target of 13% improvement in water status and has failed to prevent deterioration of water status overall at hundreds of water bodies, despite improvement at some locations. 

Maam River

The Maam river feeds into Lough Corrib, Co Galway 

These finding and more are revealed in the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Assessment of Water Quality in Ireland covering 2010-2015 — the first six-year assessment on the status of Ireland’s waters, under the Water Framework Directive.

Read more: Deterioration in ‘pristine’ status of Irish waters

Water Footprint Network files for bankruptcy

WFNThe WFN Foundation has filed for bankruptcy and expects to go into receivership in early September, citing ‘overwhelming financial problems’. The WFN wa founded in 2008 'to solve the world’s water crisis by advancing fair and smarter water use'.

While the WFN will no longer exist as a legal entity, its mission – to promote the transition towards sustainable, fair and efficient use of freshwater resources worldwide – remains as important and relevant as ever, explains executive director, Dr Christopher Briggs.

Read more: Water Footprint Network files for bankruptcy

Galway City's 'hidden' canal system

Concern over the neglected state of Galway City’s canals has prompted the formation of a group to create awareness and to include the many users of the waterways, some of which have been working at cross purposes with each other.

Galway Canal Distillery River

Distillery River

Phil James, who chairs the Galway Waterways Association, spoke to Inshore Ireland about the challenges ahead.

Read more: Galway City's 'hidden' canal system

All-island environmental standards must be safeguarded

Crucial cross-border cooperation to protect the environment across the island of Ireland must not be ‘diluted’ by Brexit, warned MEPs, NGOs and legal experts at a conference (16/6) to examine potential impacts on Ireland’s environment, post Brexit. Potential weakening of legislative protection is seen as the single greatest environmental risk.

Cruit Island

Cruit Island, Co Donegal. Environmental standards for the island of Ireland must be upheld, post Brexit. Photo Gillian Mills  

The importance of ensuring equal status in environmental standards north and south has been recognised at European level. EU Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has highlighted the risk of environmental ‘dumping’ if a divergence of standards between the UK and Member States emerges.

Read more: All-island environmental standards must be safeguarded

BurrenLIFE project scoops major environmental award

BurrenLIFE project has received a 'Best Ever' award (Nature and Biodiversity category) in the 25-year history of the European Commission LIFE progrmame. 

 LIFE Project Burren

Commissioner DG Environment Karmenu Vella presents the Green Award to Dr Brendan Dunford and Dr Sharon Parr for Burren Life Project (2005-2010). Photo Ruairi Ó Chonchúir

In the last 25 years, the programme has helped to reduce human impact on the environment; preserve nature and biodiversity and fight climate change. Fifteen LIFE projects were shortlisted from 4,500 entries as nominees for 'Green Awards'. Nominees were selected by jury based on long-term sustainability; communication potential and broader impact on a national, European and global level, and voted on the public. 

BurrenLIFE (2005-2010)

In the late 1990s, local farmers along with Teagasc, UCD and the National Parks and Wildlife Service agreed on a research project: 'The Impact of Agriculture Practices on the Natural Heritage of the Burren'. It highlighted the important role that farming plays in supporting the rich biodiversity and agricultural heritage of the Burren along with decline in traditional farming systems and the dependent habitats. 

In 2004, the original partners sought funding from the EU LIFE fund to address some of the problems identified and to develop 'A blueprint from the sustainable agricultural management of the Burren'. The BurrenLIFE project (2005-2010) was the first major farming for conservation project in Ireland and one of very few EU projects to place farmers at the centre of the conservation agenda. 

This project paved the way for the Burren Farming Conservation Programme (2010-2015) which currently involves over 300 farmers.

The awards recognise the most outstanding completed LIFE projects since 1992. 

EU economy vulnerability to water scarity and drought

A report by the Water Footprint Network highlights how increasing water scarcity and drought could have on the EU’s economy.

The report: Dependencies of Europe’s Economy On Other Parts of the World in Terms of Water Resources shows that just over a third of the EU’s water demand lies outside its borders because many of the goods consumed by its citizens or businesses are produced abroad.

Water Footprint Network rep


Courtesy of Water Footprint Network

It notes that annually, approximately 668 km3 of water is used by the EU for all of the goods it produces, consumes and exports. And with up to 38% of this water originating beyond EU borders the EU economy is highly dependent on the availability of water in other parts of the world.

Read more: EU economy vulnerability to water scarity and drought

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