LAWPRO: governance, structure, process and reporting

The Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO) is a national shared service,
coordinating the local authority response to statutory obligations under the European
Union (Water Policy) Regulations, S.I. No 350 of 2014, for implementation of the Water
Framework Directive in Ireland.

The LA waters programme is managed jointly by Kilkenny and Tipperary County Councils
and employs 60 staff. Staff work out of 13 Local Authority centres in a five regions structure: Border, West, East and Midlands, South East and South West. The work of LAWPRO can be grouped under three themes: regional coordination, community engagement, and catchment science

The senior management team consists of a Director of Service, a Catchment Team Leaderand
three Regional Coordinators. The Regional Coordinator and Catchment Team Leader roles are
at Senior Engineer cognate grade. They have specific sectoral expertise and coordinate and
facilitate multi-agency collaboration at regional and national level.


The Operations Manager (one of the Regional Coordinators) oversees and directs the work of the LAWPRO head office team, which provides financial operations support, communications and marketing services, community funding services, HR and information technology support. The Catchment Team Leader oversees the work of the Catchment Managers and the regional teams.

-Sean Keating Director of Service Tipperary County Council
-Carol McCarthy Catchment Team Leader Kilkenny County Council
-Bernie O’Flaherty Regional Coordinator Border and Western Region Kilkenny County Council
-Fran Igoe Regional Coordinator Southern Team Tipperary County Council
-Ray Spain Regional Coordinator Midlands and East, and Programme. Operations Manager
Tipperary County Council

Catchment Managers

The Catchment Managers are responsible for the monitoring and delivery of the programme of work by the catchment scientists in the PAA’s in their region and liaise with local authorities and all public agencies to promote the Local Catchment assessment and to identify measures to be taken where pressures are found.

-Bernadette White Western Region/Blue Dot Kilkenny County Council
-Maeve Ryan South West Region Kilkenny County Council
-Margaret Keegan Midlands and East Region Tipperary County Council
-Martina Smith Border Region Kilkenny County Council
-Ruth Hennessy South East Region Tipperary County Council

Community Water Officers

There are 13 Community Water Officers (CWO) who engage with the public in water matters, promoting participation, education, local inclusion, two-way communications, understanding and trust. They also assist communities and groups develop local area water management plans in partnership with stakeholders to meet RBMP objectives.

Catchment Scientists
There are 30 Catchment Scientists who carry out investigative assessment and water quality management activities in water bodies in Priority Areas for Action. This includes desk-based and field-based assessments and the analysis of that data to develop mitigation strategies and measures. An additional post of Blue Dot Scientist was created in early 2019 to focus on the high-status objective waters.

Org Chart

LAWPRO have a series of excellent Desktop studies here

“There are several stages in the local catchment assessment process. It commences with a
desktop study, where all the existing available data on a PAA is gathered and assessed. The
study analyses historical water quality data, looks at potential sources of pollution, identifies
possible pathways for pollution to reach the receptor which is the watercourse. The study
also identifies any data gaps or gaps in understanding of how water flows in the catchment
and how activities are impacting on it. There were 117 desktop studies completed in 2019,
(out a total of 189 for the full RBMP to 2021), giving a 62% overall completion rate in one
calendar year.”


Any new information received through the consultation processes is included in the desk
study and planning of field work commences. Fieldwork involves systematically working
through the catchment, recording presence and abundance of macroinvertebrates and
macroalgae. Field parameters are also measured, and the physical condition of the river is
assessed. All these can help us to understand what is happening in a river catchment and if
it is affected by pollution.

As the catchment teams move through a catchment, they refer various issues to the ASSAP
advisor (for follow-up with local farmers) or to the relevant implementing body as they come
across them. Once the fieldwork is complete and analysed, the lead scientist will write a
report on the findings. Formal referrals to ASSAP or the implementing bodies will then take
place using the EPA’s on-line WFD Application. All the referrals taken together, to ASSAP
and implementing bodies, form the Action plan for the catchment. In the case of agriculture,
the measures to be implemented will be agreed between the farmer and the advisor.
In 2019 referrals were underway in 58 of the PAAs with referrals regarding agriculture
underway where relevant.

Note: will go through each in detail, as there is a lot of good information that can assist in identifying detailed pollution sources in a given catchment.

As of Jan 2022, the following studies are available

DocumentPAACountyDownload Link
Desktop StudyRogerstown Estuary Priority Area for ActionDublinRogerstown Desktop Study
Desktop StudyClonshanbo/Lyreen Priority Areafor ActionKildareClonshanbo/Lyreen Desktop Study
Desktop StudyBoycetown Priority Area for ActionMeathBoycetown Desktop Study
Desktop StudyKilmainham (Dee) Priority Area for ActionMeathKilmainham (Dee) Desktop Study
Desktop StudyLower Nanny Priority Area for ActionMeathLower Nanny Desktop Study
Desktop StudyBoora Estuary Priority Area for ActionOffalyBoora Desktop Study
Desktop StudyPortarlington Estuary Priority Area for ActionOffaly/Laois/KildarePortarlington Desktop Study
Desktop StudyDerravaragh Prioritised Area for ActionWestmeathDerravaragh Desktop Study
Desktop StudyDerry-Coolboy-Rosnastraw Priority Areafor ActionWicklowDerry-Coolboy-Rosnastraw Desktop Study


The above list does not tally with the 2019 LAWPRO annual report, so will request list of studies completed each year, and number planned for 2022

1) What catchments have desk studies for 2019, 2020, 2021, and what desk studies are planned for 2022 ?

In addition to the above, there are also actual insteam assessments conducted by the LAWPRO catchment scientists, will also request these

2) Are there separate written studies for Insteam Assessments, or are they the chemical data provided to EPA/local authorities ? or what format do they follow ?  [request sample instream assessment]

The studies and assessments feed into Action Plans

3) Where, if anywhere, are the Action Plans published? are they only available via AIE request to Tipp CoCo ? for example, 2019 report says 45 Action Plans prepared [request sample Action Plan]

Most pollution issues are dealt with by local authorities and/or EPA, except agriculture (the largest pollution issue in most catchments in the Priority Areas for Action). These are passed to the ASSAP team in Teagasc

4) Where there are Ag referrals (via ASSAP) what format do these take, are they published or only available via AIE ? where there’s informal Ag referrals, how are these tracked ? [request sample Ag referral]

In 2019, LAWPRO identified a requirement for a system to track referrals

5) 2019 Annual Report notes that “Implementation of referrals not tracked as yet” – is this system/register now in place ?

There is also a system in place to monitor progress in Agriculture, where there is a handover from LAWPRO to ASSAP

6) Monitoring proof of concept Ag catchments – how are Ag catchments selected / listed, and what monitoring is available to measure progress ?

Request copy of recent annual report

7) Copy of 2020 LAWPRO annual report

Relationship between LAWPRO and other environmental agencies. Generally environmental agencies have MoUs with other agencies working in the same field.

8) Request Memorandums of Understanding from EPA, IFI, NPWS etc as between them and LAWPRO to establish governance

LAWPRO annual reports, include appendix with project progress

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