June 8, 2021

Irish Water announces new plans to support biodiversity at its sites

Irish Water Biodiversity Plan

Irish Water has stated that many plant, animal species and insects have started to make a revival at their sites across the country as a consequence of the utility’s effort to support biodiversity plans. 

Celebrating World Environment Day from last week, Irish Water announced the launch of its Biodiversity Action Plan which involves implementing a national programme including a range of measures focusing on protecting and enhancing the biodiversity of Ireland. Irish Water has announced its commitment to protecting the rich range of flora and fauna in Ireland and its 1,700 water and wastewater treatment sites nationwide.

Improvements in Biodiversity 

A range of species has been spotted at several Irish Water sites where sustainable management plans have been implemented. Dr Brian Deegan, an ecologist at Irish Water explains that the organisation understands the need to improve the efforts to eliminate the decline of biodiversity. He states that Irish Water is committed to ensuring that infrastructure is developed in a responsible way that protects ecosystems, and enhances them when possible. Dr Deegan highlights that Irish Water provides clean drinking water to over 3 million people across Ireland daily and returns treated wastewater safely to the environment. 

Dr Liam Lysaght of the National Biodiversity Data Centre points out that the rich biodiversity of Ireland represents one of the most important natural resources, yet it is facing rising threats like many areas of our planet. Luckily, there is more awareness of how important it is to protect and enhance biodiversity and that we all have a part to play in supporting natural ecosystems. 

The Biodiversity Action Plan 

The Action Plan includes Irish Water’s intentions to help conserve, enhance and work with the natural environment, as well as the measures and actions required to reach these goals. The plan includes seven key objectives, including: 

  • New measures at every Irish Water site that intends to enhance and protect the flora and fauna. 
  • Raise awareness and offer biodiversity-specific educational support Ensure there is no net loss of biodiversity through activities or delivering plans on its sites. 
  • Implementing plans from the All Ireland Pollinator Plan at all Irish Water sites. Encouraging the use of nature-based solutions for water protection and treating wastewater. 
  • Management of invasive alien species across Irish Water sites. 
  • Collaborating with vital internal and external stakeholders as well as the community in biodiversity protection. 

Working with the local authorities Irish Water is collaborating with local authorities to support biodiversity at multiple sites across the country. For example, Irish Water is carrying out enhancement work at the Waterford Wastewater Treatment Plant. This includes woodland management and wildflower meadow development next to a Special Area of Conservation. 

Other sites like Ballymore Eustace, the largest water treatment plant in Ireland has been the location of several biodiversity measures for several years. Habitats include wildflower meadows and native woodlands on-site at the treatment plant.