River Basin Districts for the 2nd Cycle of the WFD (2015-2021)

   - Scotland RBD
Solway Tweed XRBD

   - Northumbria XRBD
   - North West RBD
Humber RBD
   - Severn XRBD
Anglian RBD
   - Thames RBD
   - South West RBD
South East RBD

RBD - River Basin District
XRD - Cross border RBD
IRBD - International RBD


   - Western Wales RBD

Northern Ireland:
   - North Eastern RBD
Neagh Bann IRBD
   - North Western IRBD

Republic of Ireland:
1st Cycle River Basin Districts:

   - Western RBD
Shannon IRBD
   - Eastern RBD
South Eastern RBD
   - South Western RBD

2nd Cycle River Basin Districts:
   - National RBD
International RBDs

Changes to Republic of Ireland River Basin Districts for the 2nd Cycle River Basin Management Plans

For the 2nd Cycle, the Eastern, South Eastern, South Western, Western and Shannon River Basin Districts will be merged to form one national River Basin District. This is explained on the Environment Protection Agency website:


This new national approach will require assessment and planning to be carried out at a variety of scales and the EPA is tasked with leading on the technical tasks with the support and assistance of local authorities. It has been decided that a national river basin plan should be supported by sub plans at sub-regional scales. The country will be divided into 46 catchment management units. The units are, in the main, based on the hydrometric areas already in use with the River Shannon being subdivided on the basis of the catchments of its major tributaries.

See the Significant water management issues consultation document for a map of the Catchment Management Units (page 9) and also for details of the new 3 tier governance structure for the WFD (page 25).


A summary of the 3 tier governance structure  is also available on the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government website:



2nd Cycle River Basin Management Plans: 2018-2021

Following reviews of the first round of plans, the Government has established a new structure and assigned responsibility for various tasks in developing and carrying out the next cycle of  RBMP’s. The new structure was given legal effect by the European Union (Water Policy) Regulations 2014 S.I. 350 of 2014 and is designed around three inter-locking tiers.



The next cycle of RBMPs will cover the period up to the end of 2021. The RBMPs will describe the main pressures and activities affecting water status, set out the environmental objectives to be achieved up to 2021 and identify the measures needed to achieve these objectives.

In delivering the plans outlined above, Ireland is two years behind the timeframes stipulated in the WFD. Therefore, the second round of RBMPs in Ireland will be in place for 4 rather than 6 years and by the 3rd planning cycle Ireland should be back in alignment with the WFD timeframe.

2nd Cycle Timetable:

          Public consultation on the River Basin Management Plan for Ireland (2018-2021)

Catchments.ie - Water from source to sea


Catchments.ie is a new website with science and stories about water from across Ireland. Local water quality data, maps, stories and more are available.

catchments-ie Water from Source to Sea

It also has information on the work of the Local Authority Waters and Communities Office set up in February 2016 to promote better management of Ireland’s streams, rivers, lakes, estuaries, coastal waters and groundwater. It aims to:

  1. coordinate the activities of all 31 local authorities in areas relevant to the Water Framework Directive and
  2. carry out public consultation and engagement with communities and stakeholders, as required by the Directive.



During the consultation period for the second cycle River Basin Management Plan, the Local Authority Waters and Communities Office (LAWCO) convened a series of 124 meetings to engage with communities and other stakeholders. Over 950 submissions received have been collated for submission to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government for consideration in preparing the River Basin Management Plan for Ireland 2018 – 2021, due to be published in early 2018.

In addition, a characterisation and technical assessment was carried out on all the water bodies at a catchment scale and a selected number of water bodies were chosen as priority ‘Areas for Action’ where resources can be focussed during the life of the RBMP.




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