Current status2012
Short term status2007 - 2012
Long term status

Click on the charts below in order to see the full resolution versions.

Chart B.7.ii._1 Number of freshwater habitats reported as Chart B.7.ii._2 Number of freshwater habitats reported as

Adpoted in 2000, the EU Water Framework Directive aims to protect all water resources, prevent further deterioration of all waters and to restore degraded surface and ground waters to good status by 2015.  The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government delegated the task of coordination and oversight of the WFD implementation in Ireland to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The WFD requires surface waters, such as rivers and lakes, to be classified as high, good, moderate, poor or bad ecological status based on standard, European-wide unified approach integrating a suite of biological, chemical and morphological conditions.  Assessment of quality is based on the extent of deviation from reference conditions i.e. biological, chemical and morphological conditions associated with no or very low human pressure. 

Despite an overall decrease in the length of river channels classified as seriously polluted, there has also been a decrease in the percentage river sites surveyed attaining high ecological status, from 29.6% in 1987-1990 to 18.1% in 2010-2012. In the latest period 2010-2012, 222 lakes representing 967 km2 of surface water (62% of the national resource) were monitored.  Overall, there was a decline in lake ecological status with the area of lakes classified as Good or Moderate decreasing by 25% (261 km2) and the area classified as Poor or Bad increasing by 24% (232 km2).


More information on water quality in Ireland’s lakes and rivers can be found here:

More information on the Water Framework Directive and the EPA’s Monitoring and Assessment Programme can be found here:

The Water Framework Directive Status data can be downloaded from here:


Number of freshwater habitats reported as 'Good Environment Status' under Water Framework Directive monitoring

The EU Water Framework Directive was adopted in 2000 bringing a standardised framework to safeguarding all water bodies and water-dependent ecosystems.  The number of river and lake habitats attaining high or good environment status is an indicator of Ireland’s success in protecting its freshwater resources.

Created: 2014-11-21 09:55:03 | Updated: 2015-11-25 21:26:45