Quick Start Guide to view information about Northern Ireland’s water environment based on mapping provided by Land Property Services.
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The water environment has been divided into units called ‘water bodies’ and categorised into rivers, lakes, transitional waters, coastal waters and groundwater.
The quality of our waters is assessed by a network of monitoring stations. These help determine the classification, or status, of water bodies and provides a means of continually measuring any change in water quality.
Surface water status
Classification systems assess the state of the environment at a point in time. Each surface water body is assigned to 1 of 5 status classes; high – good – moderate – poor –or bad. This describes the ecological and chemical quality and indicates the degree to which aquatic plant and animal communities living in the water body have been adversely affected by human activity.
Groundwater bodies are assigned to either good or poor status for chemical quality and water quantity.
Heavily modified water bodies
Water bodies that have changed to such a degree that they can no longer be restored to their original condition without compromising their current use. E.g. due to navigation, flood defences.
Areas identified as requiring special protection under existing national or European legislation, to protect their surface water or groundwater, or to conserve habitats or species that directly depend on these waters.
A programme of measures has been developed to ensure environmental objectives are met. A measure includes the action to be taken and the mechanism (policy, legal & financial tools) for taking the action.
River Basin Districts
River basins (or catchments) have been assigned to River Basin Districts, which serve as the administrative areas for coordinated water management.
Catchment Stakeholder Group
NI has a network of nine catchment stakeholder areas, each with its own group, which provides a forum to discuss local water issues.