Dáil Éireann - Volume 661 - 24 September, 2008
Written Answers. - EU Directives.
Deputy Joanna Tuffy Deputy Joanna Tuffy
Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the steps that have been taken to comply with the water framework directive, 2000/60/EC, and the bathing water directive, 2006/7/EC, which provide for the protection of rivers, lakes, coastal waters and ground-waters, including an obligation to achieve and maintain good water quality; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30208/08]
Deputy John Gormley Deputy John Gormley
Deputy John Gormley: Significant steps have been taken to date in relation to the implementation of the Water Framework and Bathing Water Directives. In the case of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) these include the publication in March 2003, of a joint North/South consultation paper — “Managing Our Shared Waters”. This paper outlined the arrangements for coordination of implementation in respect of cross border River Basin Districts. Eight River Basin District (RBDs) have been established on the island of Ireland. Of these four are entirely in Ireland, three are cross-border and one is entirely in Northern Ireland. Project offices were established in each district to support implementation of the Directive. These have been funded to the amount of €63 million by my Department.
In December 2004, a “Characterisation Report” was issued in relation to each RBD. These reports identified and classified the water bodies, set out baseline data, identified waters at risk of not achieving good status, and provided an economic analysis of water use. A comprehensive monitoring programme under the management of the EPA became operational in December 2006. In June 2007, a report on Significant Water Management Issues for each RBD was published for public consultation. The next major milestone in implementation of the WFD will be the publication by 22 December 2008 of Draft River Basin Management Plans. These will be subject to public consultation for a period of 6 months, with a view to adoption by December 2009.
With regard to implementation of the new EU Bathing Water Directive (2006/7/EC), I made regulations in March 2008 which transpose this Directive into national law. The Bathing Water Quality Regulations 2008 establish more stringent water quality standards for protection of the  health of bathers. The timetable for compliance with the Bathing Water Directive extends to 2015, and is in line with the WFD. My Department is currently working with the EPA to develop guidance to assist local authorities in meeting their obligations under this Directive.
Dáil Éireann 661 Written Answers. EU Directives.