EPA Non Drinking Water Abstraction Register: OCEI Decision to overturn EPA refusal to release unredacted Register

The Commissioner annulled the EPA’s decision in respect of information regarding 1,223 non-drinking water registrations coming within the scope of this review. He directed the EPA to undertake a fresh decision making process in respect of that information.

Talbotsinch Water Abstraction: River Nore SAC, Water Abstraction and the Kilkenny Potato Farm

AIE request AIE-040-2023

Under the AIE Regs to request any records in relation to NPWS enforcement actions / inspections / inspectors site notes / related correspondence for water abstraction within SACs for potato farming / processing in Kilkenny 

For the purposes of this AIE please consider the years 2020 to 2023 

Consent Form

Environmental Flow Assessments for Irish Rivers

The location of abstraction is within the River Barrow and River Nore SAC (002162) and the River Nore SPA (004233). The qualifying interests of these sites (listed in Appendix I) include a number of aquatic habitats and species.

Activity will abstract water from river

Activity will cause noise.

Placement of pipe and equipment will result in minor level of human disturbance at river edge

Placement of pipe in water may impact on riparian vegetation or cause introduction of invasive species.

Abstraction can result in “bycatch” of aquatic organisms caught in intake pipe, and in particular salmon fry and lamprey juveniles.

Screening for Appropriate Assessment – Screening matrix and Finding of No Significant Effects matrix

Conclusion: Likely significant effects cannot be ruled out. Potentially significant effects found in relation to Salmon, Sea, Brook and River Lamprey (subject to consultation with IFI), floating river vegetation, Crayfish, Otter on the River Barrow and River Nore SAC and Kingfisher on the River Nore SPA. Appropriate Assessment is required.

EPA Water Abstraction Register 2023

Note: townslands are now included (Column K, L) but not for all records

Redactions are under appeal with OCEI

Notes from the notes

eg 47 points of abstraction in Longford, what is this for ? just says land drainage, but why so extensive?


Agri food abstraction, two river / two boreholes (likely Carbery Group)


Artificial groundwater level for landfill cell protection – Cone of depression

150-acre landfill at Killagh More, near Kilconnell

W0178-02 https://epawebapp.epa.ie/terminalfour/ippc/ippc-view.jsp?regno=W0178-02

3. I7 Groundwater Management
3.17.1 Effective groundwater management infrastructure shall be provided and maintained at the facility during construction, operation. restoration and aftercare of the facility. As a minimum. the infrastructure shall be capable of the following

a) the protection of the groundwater resources from pollution by the waste activities; and
The protection of other infrastructure, such as the liner, from any adverse effects caused by the groundwater.

b) 3.17.2 Any groundwater arising from the construction of the facility shall be diverted to the surface water lagoon.

KILREE Kilkenny

Quarrying, Bennettsbridge Limestone Quarries


70,000m3/day with a maximum annual average of 22,000m3


Quarrying, Oakland Quarries

Wexford County Council No. SS/W161/04 

Abstraction is limited to 200m3/d from May to end of September and to 1,000m3/d from October to end of April.

Dublin City


Groundwater well / borehole

Abstraction is restricted to 100m3/d




Industrial – Groundwater Remediation


Abstraction rates agreed in consultation with the EPA and periodically reviewed. 

Assaroe, Donegal


Assaroe reservoir working levels (Assaroe Lake is a 578-acre artificial lake created by the Cathleen falls and Cliff Hydro schemes and is controlled by the ESB)

Colocated salmon hatchery


Hydropower, three abstractions,



cross border agreement, no further details



Daily limit of 300m3 and hourly limit of 40m3

Reservoir abstraction,

Sackville, Kerry

Likely Ardfert Quarry Products

Discharge licence from Kerry County Council. Maximum daily discharge 40,000m3 .  Note average daily discharge 13,700m3 approx with maximum seasonal discharge of 27,730m3

Rivers, Limerick

three abstractions


discharge of cooling water from abstraction limited to 2300m3/day



SSE Generation Ireland Limited

IED/IPC Licence conditions to comply with



If the water on the river is low ( no rain) the turbine is not operational


Licence agreement with ESB, Carrigadrohid reservoir



Dublin Waste to Energy Limited (Poolbeg incinerator)

Limited to 14040 m3 per hour Maximum and 570000 m3 per day 

Mallow Cork

Industrial, Groundwater,

P0403-03 Dairygold

Local Authority Planning Restriction 1300m3/day


Agriculture (Drinking consumption, parlour and herd washing)

Local Environmental Health Officer does not allowed us to use water for human consumption


Aquaculture, lake abstraction, likely Marine Harvest / MOWI Ireland


Max volumetric flow per 24 hours (m3) =  6048


Industrial, likely Edenderry Power Station

Maximum abstraction is 240m3/hr. under planning permission


Industrial, likely Clonbullogue Ash Repository / Bord na Mona ash landfill

Maximum abstraction is 240m3/hr. under planning permission

Colligan River


Treatment of Landfill Leachate, Dungarvan Waste Disposal Site

Maximum abstraction to Colligan River is 186 cubic meters per day


Cooling, SSE Thermal Gas Fired Power Station

maximum allowable cooling water returned to the estuary under our IPPC permit is 792,000m3 per day

PROCKLIS (ED Dunlewy) Donegal


Lwat26, Marine Harvest / MOWI Ireland

Maximum daily flow (m3) = 34560

Aquaculture, Station Island Donegal


Yes Maximum daily flow (m3) = 34560

COOLADERRY (ED Fanad North) Donegal

Lwat28 Marine Harvest / MOWI Ireland

Maximum volumetric flow (m3/24 hours) = 175



Minimum lake level & drawdown.



not to cause any pollution issues


Irrigation, Forest Nursery Production, Coillte Nurseries. Ballintemple Ardaltin Co. Carlow

River abstraction

Permissible limit from Inland Fisheries based on maximum of 60m3 per hour.  

Dublin City

Temporary dewatering of an excavation on a construction site, Dublin

Five abstractions via Groundwater well / borehole

PJ Hegarty has applied for 2 Discharge Licences:
1. Dublin City Council, discharge licence to Waters, to recharge water back into the gravel aquifer within the site. DCC has issued the licence to discharge to waters (PCLW/005/18) and discharge limit is 432 m3/day.
2. Irish Water, discharge licence to sewer, to discharge water into the foul sewer.
Both licences will limit the volume of water allowed to recharge / discharge per day. This will restrict the abstraction.



W376 04

Set of conditions relating to the discharge license W376 04



Subject to agreed low flow compensation under terms of original planning.  Effectively turbine cuts out automatically when flow is too low.  Normal year approx 1 month.   2018  four months.!

LUNG and BANADA Roscommon

four abstractions

Industrial cooling

P0802-02 Aurivo Dairy Ingredients

SW4 abstraction limited to 6000 m3/d


industrial cooling, nine abstractions

P0442-02 Irish Distillers

The maximum water abstraction rate from the combined eight production wells shall be 4,300 m3/day.


Spring water used as an ingredient in the manufacture of beverages, Glenpatrick

Groundwater well / borehole abstraction

Treatment of the water is prohibited with the exception of filtration



River abstraction

Lwat40 Millbrook Salmon Hatcheries Ltd

Volumetric flow per minute = 5m3


WP(W)02/18 and WP(W)07/11

Likely North Cork Co-Operative Creamery Limited

Wastewater Monitoring Programme for BOD, Suspended Solids, Total Nitrogen, Total Phosphorous and Mineral Oils


WP(W)02/18 and WP(W)07/11

Likely Ballyhest Quarry

Wastewater Monitoring Programme for BOD, Suspended Solids, Total Nitrogen, Total Phosphorous and Mineral Oils

Clohamon Weir, Slaney River Valley SAC



EPA data on Hogg Enterprises (pig farm)

Vartry Water Treatment Plant Upgade: Schedule of Commitments and Related Documents

AIE Request, Dec 2022

Vartry Water Treatment Plant Schedule of Commitments

River Vartry Flow Monitoring Locations Assessment





[UK Water Abstraction Case]

Date: 6 September 2022




Royal Courts of Justice

The claimants, Angelika and Timothy Harris, live in the Norfolk Broads. They are concerned that water abstraction is causing irremediable damage to the environment, including ecosystems that are legally protected. Their intervention was instrumental in the decision of the defendant, the Environment Agency, not to renew two abstraction licences. The claimants believe that the Environment Agency ought to review more broadly the impact of water abstraction to decide whether other licences should also be withdrawn or altered. They challenge, by judicial review, the Environment Agency’s refusal to expand the scope of an investigation that it conducted into the effect of 240 licences for abstraction. That investigation concerned the effect of abstraction on just three Sites of Special Scientific Interest (“the three SSSIs”).

The claimants’ case is that:


the Environment Agency is in breach of an obligation under article 6(2) of the EU Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) (“the Habitats Directive”) to avoid the deterioration of protected habitats and disturbance of protected species.


The obligation under article 6(2) of the Habitats Directive has effect in domestic law by reason of regulation 9(3) of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (“the Habitats Regulations”) which requires the Environment Agency to “have regard” to the Habitats Directive.


Irrespective of the effect of regulation 9(3) of the Habitats Regulations, article 6(2) of the Habitats Directive is enforceable by the domestic courts.


The Environment Agency’s decision not to conduct a more expansive investigation into the impact of licenced water abstraction is irrational.

The Environment Agency accepts that it must have regard to article 6(2) of the Habitats Directive. It maintains that it has done so and that it has, after taking it into account, reasonably decided to limit its investigation of the impact of the 240 licences to the three SSSIs. It disputes that article 6(2) has direct effect in domestic law beyond the obligation to “have regard” to it. In any event, it maintains that it is acting compatibly with the requirements of article 6(2).

[The Claimants] have been concerned for many years about the condition of fenland in the area where they live and own land. They are particularly concerned about the impact of the abstraction of groundwater for agricultural and other purposes.

Habitats Regulations require […] a precautionary approach and to take action to reduce abstraction where there was a risk that abstraction might cause such adverse effects.

Landelijke Vereniging tot Behoud van de Waddenzee v Staatssecretaris van Landbouw, Natuurbeheer en Visserij (Case C-127/02) [2005] 2 CMLR 31

The Habitats Directive must be interpreted in accordance with the precautionary principle

Anticipatory measures are required to prevent deterioration before it occurs: Case C-418/04 Commission v Ireland [2007] ECR I-10997 at [207]-[208]

Where it appears that there is a risk of deterioration of a protected habitat, article 6(2) of the Habitats Directive requires that “appropriate steps” are taken to avoid that deterioration: Case C-399/14 Grüne Liga Sachsen eV v Freistaat Sachsen EU:C:2016:10 [2016]

This means that where it becomes apparent that there may be a risk to a protected habitat or species as a result of the licenced abstraction of water, article 6(2) imposes an obligation to review the applicable licences: Grüne Liga at [44]. The review must be sufficiently robust to guarantee that the abstraction of water will not cause significant damage to ecosystems that are protected under the Habitats Directive: Grüne Liga at [53].

The claimants’ case is that the Environment Agency acted unlawfully by limiting its investigation to the three SSSIs. They say that once it decided to review the 240 abstraction licences, it was required to consider their impact across the entirety of the SAC. Further, once the Environment Agency was aware of potential risks to other sites, it was obliged to address those potential risks.

Water abstraction involves the taking of water from the underlying aquifers and thereby potentially reduces the through-flow of base-rich water which is a key characteristic of the SAC. It also potentially changes the ground chemistry, impacting on surface ecology.

There is therefore the clear potential for water abstraction to cause damage to wetland ecosystems.

The Environment Agency has a broad discretion as to the steps that should be taken to achieve that end. The cost of different options is a relevant factor that can legitimately be considered. A court will be slow to question the Environment Agency’s expert assessment as to the steps that should be taken. It is, however, not open to the Environment Agency to take no steps – that is a breach of article 6(2).

The Environment Agency must act unless it is satisfied that there is no risk of significant damage.

Environment Agency cannot absolve itself from compliance with article 6 by pointing to work done by other public authorities.

Although it has taken account of article 6, it has not justified its failure to take steps in respect of the risks (particularly risks posed by abstraction in accordance with permanent licences), and it is therefore in breach of its obligation under regulation 9(3) of the Habitats Regulations. The claimed lack of resource does not justify these breaches.

The Environment Agency has not undertaken any sufficient analysis of the steps needed to address the impact of abstraction in accordance with permanent licences.

The Environment Agency must (by reason of regulation 9(3) of the Habitats Regulations) have regard to the requirements of article 6(2) of the Habitats Directive. It must therefore be in a position to justify any departure from those requirements.

It follows that the Environment Agency must take appropriate steps to ensure that, in the SAC, there is no possibility of the deterioration of protected habitats or the significant disturbance of protected species as a result of licensed water abstraction. The Environment Agency has discharged that obligation in respect of three sites of special scientific interest. But it has not done so in respect of all sites within the SAC. That is because its review of abstraction licences was flawed and (at least in relation to permanent licences) it has not conducted a sufficient further review to address those flaws. It is therefore in breach of regulation 9(3) of the Habitats Regulations and article 6(2) of the Habitats Directive.