The applicable legislation governing Drinking Water Quality in Ireland is The European Communities (Drinking Water) (No. 2) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 278 of 2007). The drinking water Parametric Values, which all public water supplies must comply with are set out in the schedules to these regulations.

European Communities (Drinking Water) (No.2) Regulations 2007
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The main pieces of water quality legislation are as follows :

  • EU Water Framework Directive;

  • Water Pollution Acts, 1977-1990;

  • Local Government (Water Quality Standards for Phosphorus) Regulations, 1998;

  • European Communities (Good Agricultural Practice for Protection of Waters) Regulations, 2009.

EU Water Framework Directive :
The most significant piece of water quality legislation is the EU Water Framework Directive – introduced in 2000 with phased implementation up to 2015, the directive is a statement of european policy with regard to water quality.

Objective of the Directive : “Good” status for all waters (surface waters, groundwaters, transitional waters and coastal waters) by 2015.

Traditionally water management had been based on administrative boundaries, ie. local authority boundaries.  The Directive, however, strengthens the concept of a catchment-based approach to water management.  In pursuit of this aim, the island of Ireland has been divided into a series of eight discreet management units, called River Basin Districts (RBDs).  County Kerry is involved in 2 RBDs – The Shannon RBD (roughly equivalent to the North Kerry area) and the South Western RBD (roughly equivalent to the South Kerry area). 

The Directive includes a specific timeframe for full implementation of its objectives and requires, among other things, significant levels of water quality monitoring to be carried out and the development of a River Basin District Management Plan for each RBD by 2009.  These plans, once adopted, will detail the water quality objectives to be achieved for all water bodies within each RBD and the measures to be employed to achieve those objectives.  A major element of the directive is the need for widespread consultation with all relevant stakeholders (ie. NGOs, state agencies, water users etc.).

Details on the Water Framework Directive are available from the following websites :




Kerry County Council, Co. Buildings, Rathass, Tralee

Phone: (066) 718 3500     Email: info@kerrycoco.ie

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