Boat dock at dawn The role of the Forum is referred to in the draft River Basin Management Plan for Ireland 2018 to 2021. The Plan also states that the Forum will have discretion to determine its own work programme and means of communicating its view and analysis and that its work and output will be completely independent.
In considering its role in that context, the members of the Forum have identified its terms of reference as follows:
The NWF is committed to facilitating stakeholder engagement on all water issues at a national, strategic policy level with the common goal of improving water quality.

The NWF will debate and analyse issues related to integrated catchment management and the implementation of the Water Framework Directive, including, but not limited to:

  • Water as a resource
  • Issues of water quality
  • Rural water issues including oversight of the Rural Water Capital Investment Programme
  • Water issues relating to climate change
  • Issues affecting customers of Irish Water.

The NWF will submit reports and recommendations to the Water Policy Advisory Group (WPAC) and the National Co-ordination and Management Committee (NCMC) in relation to national policy in order that these be considered by the relevant Department(s) with responses conveyed back to the Forum including, if possible, attendances at a meeting of the Forum.
The NWF will endeavour to enhance public understanding of the value of water and the water environment.
The NWF will promote effective public participation, including the raising of public awareness on issues affecting water quality and to monitor progress.
The NWF will prepare an Annual Report on its work.

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The following are the principles by which the members of the Forum have agreed to conduct all aspects of its business:

  • Transparency and openness – all documents will be made available to the Members and Forum minutes will be published on adoption
  • Fairness – the decisions/outputs of the Forum should be representative of the views of the group as a whole
  • Equality and respect – all Members will be afforded equal opportunity to voice their opinion and contribute to the work of the Forum
  • Efficiency – it is recognised that time and resources will be limited. Therefore the work and meetings of the Forum will be managed in as efficient a manner as possible
  • Collegiality and tolerance – the Members of the Forum will work together in the spirit of collegiality and tolerance
  • Common goal – the Members of the Forum will work together towards a common goal of an improved water environment for all