Water Quality in Northern Ireland’s Lakes and Rivers

European targets for improving water quality in Northern Ireland’s rivers and lakes by 2027 will not be met. That is among the conclusions of a report published today (Monday 25 March 2024) by Northern Ireland’s Auditor General.


Dorinnia Carville’s report on Water Quality in Northern Ireland’s Lakes and Rivers notes that the Water Framework Directive, published in 2000, set targets for bodies of water across Europe. It included a target for all rivers and lakes in Northern Ireland to achieve ‘good’ ecological status by 2027. Despite initiatives to improve water quality, in 2021 less than one third of Northern Ireland’s rivers had good ecological status, representing no improvement since 2015. In the case of lakes, only 14 per cent of were classified as having good ecological status in 2021 (down from around 24 per cent in 2015).