However, the findings from work carried out by Ireland’s Environment Protection Agency (EPA), show more needs to be done if the country is to meet its European water quality obligations.

The report, Water Quality in Ireland 2007 – 2009, is a comprehensive review of the past three years of Ireland water quality.

The report covers 13,118 km of river and stream channel (1,700 rivers), 222 lakes, 89 estuarine and coastal waterbodies and 211 groundwater monitoring stations.

It found 70% of stream channels are in a ‘good condition’, but ‘measures are needed’ to restore the quality of the 30% found to be polluted.

Good news was the number of seriously polluted river was down to 20 – half that seen in 2004-2006.

The number of fish killed through pollution was also ‘significantly down’ on previous reports, with 72 incidents reported in 2007-2009, compared with 120 incidents in the previous three year period.

Launching the report the EPA’s director of environmental assessment, Micheal Ó Cinneide, said: “In comparison with other EU member states, Ireland has better than average water quality.

“While there is evidence of an overall improvement in water quality in Ireland, further actions are essential if we are to achieve our water quality targets for 2015 and 2021 as required by the Water Framework Directive.

“The EPA will work with the network of local authorities, with sectorial groups and other agencies in tackling the water quality challenges.”

Luke Walsh

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie