On the 27th April 2017, the National Water Forum was established 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 Forum is an independent entity and has discretion to determine its own work programme and means of communicating its views and analysis.
It consists of 26 members representing organisations and sectors with an interest in water issues including consumer groups, Irish Water consumers, community groups, river trusts, groups that participate in aquatic activities such as fishing and water sports, sectors with a particular interest in water issues such as the agricultural and business sectors, the community and voluntary sector, the environmental sector and organisations representing rural Ireland and the group water scheme sector.
The Public Water Forum, whose remit is primarily concerned with issues pertinent to Irish Water and the Regulator, is being incorporated into the National Water Forum as a sub-committee.
Dr. Tom Collins, who has been the chair of the Public Water Forum, has been appointed as chair of the National Water Forum.
In launching the Forum, the then Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D. stated that “through ongoing debate and analysis, the Government expects a permanent national water forum to enhance public understanding of water as a scarce, costly resource to abstract, treat and supply, one that should be conserved, protected and used sustainably. The findings and outputs of the National Water Forum will be taken into account by both the Water Policy Advisory Group (WPAC) and the National Co-ordination and Management Committee (NCMC) in terms of informing both national policy and the implementation of the second cycle River Basin Management Plan.”
The Forum is headquartered in the Civic Offices, Limerick Road, Nenagh, County Tipperary with Ms Sharon Kennedy as Senior Executive Officer and Ms. Carol McCarthy as Senior Engineer.