Will you be enjoying the beauty of your favourite Irish river, lake or bay in the coming days or weeks? Or maybe visiting a new one on holiday or on a hike?

While we have many beautiful waterbodies in Ireland, do you know half are unhealthy? Do you know how healthy your one is? 

Why not find out, while also helping protect and restore it.

How to take part

There are three things you can do to take part. You can do all three or just one or two that suits you.

  1. Take a photo of a river, lake, estuary or any other waterbody that you love.

  2. Learn how healthy the waterbody is (more on how to do this below).

  3. Post on social media about the need for government to protect and restore it.

Find more detail on what to do below.

Steps to Follow: 

You can follow the below video or go through the written steps below it. Remember do the steps that suit you.

Take a photo of your river, lake, bay, estuary etc.

The photo should illustrate the beauty of the waterbody and/or the problems it is facing.

Maybe you don’t have time to take a photo but have a fantastic photo you took previously that would work? That’s fine. 

If you don’t have time to find out how healthy your water body is you can just post the photo on social media saying how much you love it, and that you want it protected and restored, using the hashtag #LoveYourWaters

Find out how healthy the waterbody is

  • Go to the EPA Water Maps website here: https://gis.epa.ie/EPAMaps/Water

  • Go to Status & Risk > Status 2016-2021 and click on the layer for your waterbody type

  • Click on the Layers button on the left hand menu and then click on the cog button to see what the colour on your waterbody means. If it is not green or blue (or grey) it is unhealthy and failing legal standards.

  • Then turn off the layer and go to Status & Risk > WFD Risk 3rd Cycle and click on the layer for your waterbody type.

  • If the layer on your waterbody is red it was assessed as at imminent risk of becoming or continuing to be unhealthy. If it is green it is not at risk and if it is orange it is under review.

NOTE: If your water body is showing up as healthy & meeting legal standards, and not currently assessed as ‘at risk’, it doesn’t mean it won’t be unhealthy in the future. All our waters need protection and measures to ensure they are healthy. Please read the EPA info caveats to understand better what the maps mean.

Post your photo and a message on the health of your waterbody.

Post the photo of the waterbody on social media with a message on the health of it, asking for it to be protected and/or restored by government. You might also want to tag some local or national politicians in the post. Remember to use the hashtag #LoveYourWaters

Optional extra step: Find out what are the main pressures on your waterbody.

  • Go to “Pressures & Activities” dropdown and click on your waterbody type significant pressure option. Turn on and off the various pressure layers to see what is affecting you waterbody.

Who is SWAN?

The Sustainable Water Network (SWAN) is an umbrella network of 25 of Ireland’s leading environmental NGOs, national and regional, working together to protect and restore Ireland’s rivers, lakes, coast and groundwater through coordinated participation in the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD), the Floods Directive, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and other water-related policy.

SWAN National Members

An Taisce
The National Trust For Ireland

Bat Conservation Ireland

BirdWatch Ireland

Coastal Concern Alliance


Ireland’s Environmental Education and Youth Organisation

Friends of the Earth Ireland

Friends Of The Irish Environment

Irish Peatland Conservation Council

Irish Seal Sanctuary
Caring for Ireland’s Marine Ecology

Irish Whale and Dolphin Group

Irish Wildlife Trust

VOICE of Irish Concern for the Environment