Archive for the 'Water Directive' Category

Roundwood Treatment Works Upgrade and Irish Water

September 2nd, 2016 -- Posted in Active, Ecology, Fish, Irish Water, Politics, Polution, River Basin Management, Water Directive | No Comments »

Irish Water, the River Vartry Protection Society and the Vartry Conservation and Angling Club have been meeting to discuss what can be done for the benefit of everyone. Irish Water would like to solve the issues before answering their Further Information Request by the Wicklow County Council. From our standpoint, as Riparian Owners, there are two issue; Pollution, and Abstraction.

We have insisted on an EIA after the decision by our last meeting that this is mandatory requirement in our eyes. The issue however is really simpler. If we could be 100% assured that the quality of the water immediately down stream of the works was perfect at all times and could allow us to reach High status water quality, then an EIA would not really be necessary. Irish Water are working towards this and have be innovative in their approach but we will need some scientific proofs and ways to insure that this is working and continues to produce these results, over drought and all year, every year. Failsafe equipment and monitoring would be required to prevent any disasters but again Irish Water are willing to work with us and the IFI toward this.

The subject of Abstraction is ongoing and will need some more time. We do not have the data required to assess what the flow should be in the river in order to always have sufficient water over the beds and in time of the Spawn to have sufficient water that the fish feel comfortable and will be safe to spawn. We will be urgently working with the IFI to try and determine this but we will not have years to develop this data (as we should have had). We understand the urgency felt by Irish Water and will have to work towards an accelerated schedule but sufficient to assure good results. This negotiation is ongoing and will be need cooperation from both sides, but we are hopeful that there is a good understanding between. In the end the River Vartry will have the protection it needs to be a model salmonoid river and example of cooperation between the pressures on Water Resources.

PPN Hosts LAWCO and LEADER Program meeting

July 18th, 2016 -- Posted in Active, Ecology, Fish, River Basin Management, Water Directive | No Comments »

On Saturday the 16th in the Ashford Community and Heritage Centre we had a meeting with the new body LAWCO and the County Wicklow Partnership. LAWCO is an acronym for Local Area Water Communities Office, nothing to do with LAW. Ray Spain of LAWCO, This new group is a connection group between groups like ourselves and the EPA and the Department of Environment (which is having an Identity Crisis of it’s own as to what to call it!). It’s purpose is to get Local Knowledge “up the chain” so that water decisions are based on sound knowledge and real facts from the people who know it best. We have great hopes for this new entity and already they have show how important they are.
Alison Keogh of the County Wicklow Partnership explained various funding available for Environmental Groups and we have started thinking of applying for a grant through the Ashford Development Association Ltd. We may be able to find funding for the lingering project of replacing the Weir at Ashford with some attractive and fish friendly alternative. As well we would try to incorporate several other issues down at that point of the river, which is the spread of Japanese Knotweed (visible from the bridge) and the overgrowing of the river by the trees, blocking light essential for the fish.
We will keep you up to date on the progress of this Application.

River Basin Management Plan

July 9th, 2015 -- Posted in Active, Politics, Polution, River Basin Management, Water Directive | No Comments »

The most important document for protection of the River Vartry is the EU regulated River Basin Management Plan (RBMP) which 4 years ago, we contributed to.  We were pleased with the result as the River Vartry was going to be declared “Heavily Modified”, due to the Reservoir.  Because of intervention of the Fisheries this was changed to the Upper and Lower Vartry.  The Lower being natural and unmodified, while the Upper was heavily modified.

Without the help of the Fisheries, it would have been the death of the river.  The plan had a requirement for defining Compensatory Flows for the river by 2015 but there were four responsible bodies, Wicklow County Council, EPA, Fisheries, and the Dublin Corp.  At the time we realised that this was an important decision but would be hard to force to implement as there were four bodies responsible and it would likely fall between the chairs.  Time proved us right.

It is not often that I get an opportunity to praise to the Government but Minister Alan Kelly for the Environment has done a superb job at preparing a Public Consultation Document to get public input prior to the Draft of the RBMP.  To understand just how much he wishes to do a good job, I quote from the introduction, “There is general acceptance that the governance arrangements put in place to deliver the first cycle of river basin management plans did not work well. Arrangements were overly-complex and responsibilities were poorly defined with no single body having overall responsibility for developing the plans and overseeing delivery of the programmes of measures.”  We have great hopes that this second cycle for the RBMP will be much more successful and address some of these weaknesses of the past.
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