Towards Integrated Water Management (TIMe)

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Resource or Project Abstract

The overarching objective of the Towards Integrated Water Management (TIMe) Project was to connect science, policy, managers and local communities for the integrated management of Ireland"s water resources to assist in delivering improvements in environmental status, water quality and water management. This was achieved through the delivery of five work packages.
Work Packages 1 and 2 reviewed the literature regarding best practice in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) and community engagement.

Work Package 3 undertook Risk and Cost Benefit Analyses on actions required to fill nine key gaps identified as existing between 1) ICM and community engagement initiatives undertaken in Ireland to date; and 2) perceived best practice as identified through Work Packages 1 and 2. Recommendations were:

1. Develop a national water management and community engagement framework to provide guidance and consistency for engagement initiatives into the future.

2. Investigate priority locations for the establishment of community-managed hubs as focal points for community access to ICM information and resources.

3. Develop strategic initiatives to encourage local businesses to support local water initiatives.

4. Develop national ICM-focussed primary and secondary school educational initiatives.

5. Develop and provide support to ICM-centred citizen science initiatives.

6. Increase the number and frequency of local ICM-focussed initiatives that communities can become involved with.

7. Undertake engagement initiatives to raise awareness of local water management issues and how local communities can be involved in mitigation and support strategies.

8. Develop a framework for the appropriate monitoring and evaluation of engagement initiatives.

9. Initiate a one-stop website which provides guidance and advice on ICM.

Work Package 4 undertook an online survey of current opinion on water management and community engagement in Ireland and the UK. Despite national and local promotion of management actions that encompass the ideals of ICM and IWRM, respondents were typically unaware of the terms "Integrated Water Resources Management" and "Integrated Catchment Management", but were aware of the term "Community Engagement". Whilst 81.4% of respondents did not feel included in decisions on their water environment, 95% believed that local communities should have a say in how the water environment is managed. The local nature of engagement activities was highlighted by only 22.8 % of respondents being willing to travel more than 20 km to attend such an event. The ideal frequency of such events was identified to be either 6 monthly or in order to keep people informed on local water management issues.
Work Package 5 assessed the feasibility of applying source protection best practice at the larger catchment scale. Current source protection best practice, developed by the National Source Protection Pilot Project (NSPPP), has generally been applied to smaller catchments or sub-catchments. For larger urban areas which rely on surface water sources for their drinking water supply, the issue of source protection is magnified by the larger scale of activities and the difficulties in implementing remedial management actions at this larger scale.

As a result of these issues, the NSPPP best practice source protection process was adapted for application at the larger scale to feature nine key stages within the four components of 1) Catchment delineation and data requisition; 2) Catchment characterisation; 3) Catchment management, communications and engagement planning; and 4) Monitoring, evaluation, review and implementation.

Water Management and Community Engagement Workshop. Although not included as a specific work package, the delivery of a best practice workshop was a key output of the TIMe Project. A total of 66 delegates attended the Water Management and Community Engagement Workshop held on 25th November 2015. The workshop aimed to increase awareness of integrated water management, ICM and community engagement; facilitate discussion on water management and community engagement; and encourage collaboration, partnerships and integration in the Irish water sector.

Delegates typically identified current engagement practices in Ireland as being "poor". Adjectives such as "social", "interesting" and "refreshing" were used to describe good engagement practices. Descriptions of bad engagement experiences used more emotive adjectives such as "frustration", "distressing", "disappointment", "traumatic" and "void", thus identifying potential legacy issues from previous initiatives that new engagement programmes need to address.
Regardless of previous engagement initiatives, there remains a disconnect between government agencies and local communities that must be overcome to truly facilitate community-led involvement in local water management in Ireland.
Whilst it is clear that enforcement and regulation by governing bodies will still be a requirement for water management into the future, the potential for developing local collaborative partnerships is strong. The opportunity exists for coordination at the national level to carefully plan and manage local resources in collaboration with communities and to harness the goodwill that successful partnerships can produce.

Such national coordination must be aligned with the legislative requirements for the second round of River Basin Management Planning. Whilst efforts of engagement have been developed through the EPA"s Catchment Management Network, such engagement has focussed on Local Authorities and other public bodies. Greater local-level participation is required to successfully implement ICM.

The following recommendations are made:

1. Implement the necessary actions to fill the 9 key gaps in current water management and community engagement identified through Work Package 3.

2. Expand the EPA Catchment Management Network to include community representatives.

3. Strongly promote the engagement actions to be undertaken for the second round of River Basin Management Planning to raise awareness of and participation in the actions.

4. When undertaking source protection planning at the larger catchment scale, it is important to assess available water quality data and the risk of not meeting WFD objectives rather than relying solely on WFD ecological status to identify priority areas for further investigations. Making the data (currently available to all public bodies via the recent WFD App) accessible to the general public will assist in transparency and openness between agencies and the public whilst also encouraging further engagement and collaboration.

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Contact Information for This Resource

Dr. Alec Rolston
Dundalk Institute of Technology

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Attachment Name and Download Link
Att 1    EPARR_180_Rolston_Time_web.pdf   (1.82 Mb)
Att 2    EPARR_180_Rolston_Time_prn.pdf   (2.09 Mb)
Att 3    EPARR_180_Rolston_Time_epr.pdf   (8.26 Mb)

Suggested Citation Information

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Author(s)Rolston, A.
Title Of WebsiteSecure Archive For Environmental Research Data
Publication InformationTowards Integrated Water Management (TIMe)
Name of OrganisationEnvironmental Protection Agency Ireland
Electronic Address or URL
Unique Identifierd23959f3-1cdf-11e6-ab63-005056ae0019
Date of AccessLast Updated on SAFER: 2024-07-23

An example of this citation in proper usage:

Rolston, A.   "Towards Integrated Water Management (TIMe)". Associated datasets and digitial information objects connected to this resource are available at: Secure Archive For Environmental Research Data (SAFER) managed by Environmental Protection Agency Ireland (Last Accessed: 2024-07-23)


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Access Information For This Resource

SAFER-Data Display URL
Resource KeywordsCommunity Engagement, Integrated Water Resources Management, Integrated Catchment Management
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project Code2014-W-DS-20
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project ThemeWater Quality
Resource Availability: Any User Can Download Files From This Resource
Limitations on the use of this ResourceAny attached datasets, data files, or information objects can be downloaded for further use in scientific applications under the condition that the source is properly quoted and cited in published papers, journals, websites, presentations, books, etc. Before downloading, users must agree to the "Conditions of Download and Access" from SAFER-Data. These appear before download. Users of the data should also communicate with the original authors/owners of this resource if they are uncertain about any aspect of the data or information provided before further usage.
Number of Attached Files (Publicly and Openly Available for Download): 3
Project Start Date Wednesday 18th February 2015 (18-02-2015)
Earliest Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Wednesday 18th February 2015 (18-02-2015)
Most Recent Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Monday 29th February 2016 (29-02-2016)
Published on SAFERWednesday 18th May 2016 (18-05-2016)
Date of Last EditThursday 8th September 2016 at 12:12:02 (08-09-2016)
Datasets or Files Updated On Thursday 8th September 2016 at 12:12:02 (08-09-2016)

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Geographical and Spatial Information Related To This Resource

Description of Geographical Characteristics of This Project or Dataset
This project involved assessing current water management and community engagement process relating to the island of Ireland. Links were also made to best practice undertaken within the UK and Australia. Work Package Five assessed source protection within the River Fane Catchment situated in north eastern Ireland.

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Supplementary Information About This Resource

In this section some supplementary information about this resource is outlined. Lineage information helps us to understand why this project was carried out, what policy or research requirements did it fulfil, etc. Lineage is important in understanding the rationale behind the carrying out of a project or the collection of a specific dataset etc. Links to web sites, applications, papers, etc are outlined to provide you with additional information or supplementary reading about the project or dataset

Lineage information about this project or dataset
The EPA are promoting Integrated Catchment Management as a process for the sustainable management of Ireland's water resources. The Towards Integrated Water Management Project was funded through the EPA's 2014 Water Research Call.
Supplementary Information
Others involved in this project include:

Dr. Eleanor Jennings


Centre for Freshwater and Environmental Studies

Dundalk Institute of Technology

County Louth


Telephone: 0429370200 ext 2804

Dr. Suzanne Linnane

Senior Lecturer

Centre for Freshwater and Environmental Studies

Dundalk Institute of Technology

County Louth


Telephone: 0429370200

Final Report.
Synthesis Report.
Two-page Summary Report.
Up to two publications published in international peer-reviewed journals to be published post-project (one publication submitted to Biology and Environment Journal on 29 January 2016).
A project webpage.
Two Good Practice Leaflets.
Water Management and Community Engagement Workshop.
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