An Fóram Uisce/The National Water Forum has been set up to inspire and facilitates discussion between it’s members who represent a vast cross section of society, with diverse expertise and opposing viewpoints, all working towards a common goal – the constant improvement of our waters.

The National Water Forum was established on the 27th April 2017, with a view to providing a platform for public engagement in the drafting and implementation of the River Basin Management Plan for Ireland (2018 – 2021), and on all matters relating to water as an environmental, social and economic resource.

The Forum provides an opportunity for stakeholders to debate and analyse a range of issues with regard to water quality, rural water concerns, issues affecting customers of Irish Water and the implementation of the Water Framework Directive.

The Forum is responsible for facilitating public engagement on all matters relating to the Draft River Basin Management Plan 2018-2021 published in February 2017. The Forum will consider the priorities and goals of the Plan, monitor and report on its ongoing implementation and draw attention to any significant water related issues not yet fore-grounded in the Plan

The National Water Forum, which was launched in April 2017, is representative of all stakeholders with an interest in the quality of Ireland’s water bodies. The Forum consists of 27 representatives from a wide range of organisations with direct connections to issues relating to water quality.

In representing the various stakeholders, it is envisaged that the Forum will engage with the agencies and departments who have responsibilities under the Draft River Basin Management Plan for Ireland 2018 to 2022 (RBMP) as well as the wider water community. This will result in improved understandings and enable the emergence of a common policy platform on particular catchment management issues.

The Forum will facilitate stakeholders with an opportunity to discuss, in detail, their concerns and considerations in relation to our most valuable resource and to have a real and effective input into decisions regarding the management of water. Such decisions are pivotal not only to society today but to the wider ecosystem and to posterity. The Forum will facilitate the strengthening of the democratic input into our decision making regarding this fundamental and strategic asset. It will enable the sharing of information and understandings and ensure that decisions made at national level reflect the concerns and considerations of stakeholders at local level.

The Forum is now meeting on a regular basis and intends to form sub-groups to focus on specific issues. The Forum is required to inform public views on the links between clean water supplies, good water quality and public health, and the value of water as a resource. Monitoring public understanding and awareness of water issues is something the Forum will also consider as part of its work programme.

The Forum is drafting its Action Programme, having regard to its responsibilities set out in the Draft River Basin Management Plan for Ireland 2018 to 2022 and will publish an Annual Report setting out its achievements in this regard.

Being mindful of the significant challenges presented to the Country in relation to water quality, the Forum will endeavour to work in co-operation with all stakeholders and state agencies in order to address the many issues associated with this issue – Dr. Tom Collins, Chairperson

Source: Catchments News

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