According to the latest report on Ireland's water quality (EPA, 2019), 3,192 rivers are monitored regularly in Ireland as part of the national river monitoring program. This monitoring looks at the chemical composition of the river water or else looks at the small animals that live on the river bed. Some of these animals are very sensitive to pollution and so their abundance gives a very good indication of what the water quality has been like in the past.

1,247 monitored river water bodies (53%) are in high or good ecological status and 1,108 monitored river water bodies (47%) are in moderate, poor or bad ecological status.

301 river water bodies improved in ecological status class, 429 declined and 1,612 remained unchanged resulting in a net decline of 128 river water bodies since 2010- 2015.

There has been a 3.7% decline in the number of high or good ecological status river water bodies since 2010-2015 and a 5.3% decline since the baseline assessment in 2007–2009.

River Water Quality

Over half (53%) of the monitored river water bodies in Ireland are at ‘good’ and ‘high’ ecological status while the remainder are at less than good (47%). The number of water bodies at bad ecological status has more than halved since 2007-2009. This is because serious pollution from industrial and urban wastewater has been addressed. However, there is still plenty of work to be done. 

The most economically developed parts of the country (east and north-east) are the most affected by water quality issues. 

See the current status of river water quality in Ireland by using the EPA interactive map viewer and choosing Water > Water Quality > Latest River Q Values 

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