Pictured (l-r): Paul Kilcoyle from Irish Water, Gina McIntyre Chief Executive Officer of the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) and Sara Venning Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Water.
The Special EU Programmes Body(SEUPB), has announced funding offer of €3.28 million, under the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme, that will help improve the water quality status of Carlingford Lough and Lough Foyle.
The project is called SWELL (Shared Waters Enhancement and Loughs Legacy) and involves a detailed investigation into the causes of water pollution on both sides of the border.
For the first time ever, it will bring together key state-owned water companies from Northern Ireland and Ireland as it will be delivered by both NI Water and Irish Water, in partnership with the Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute, the Loughs Agency and East Border Region Ltd.
The funding award also has the potential to unlock up to an additional €32 million worth of support from the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme to improve wastewater treatment assets that will benefit 10,000 people on a cross-border basis.
The additional funding available to the project will be used in the upgrade and construction of wastewater treatment facilities within the Carlingford Lough drainage basin in Newry, Mourne & Down and Louth council areas.
Upon its conclusion, the project will contribute towards improving the status and regional compliance with the EU’s Water Framework Directive (WFD) in respect of transitional and coastal waters found in Carlingford Lough and driving a common approach to the management of water resources.
Importantly, the project will also leave a unique ‘legacy’ model, which for the first time will link various aspects of environmental modelling which will be carried out in the catchments of the respective loughs. This legacy model will assist the regulatory bodies on both sides of the border by identifying approaches to achieving further improvement of overall water quality.
Speaking about the project, Simon Coveney, TD, Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, stated:
“I am pleased to financially support this cross-border project, as it will contribute to achieving the objectives of the EU’s Water Framework Directive.
"Establishing the causes of pollution and methods to prevent it on an integrated catchment management basis is key to enhancing water quality for the benefit of all.”