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selecting the catchments

To choose the catchments for the project, we knew we wanted consider catchments that capture the flow from ‘mountains to sea’.

We knew that if we wanted to scale up natural capital accounting nationally, we should choose catchments that already had reliable, nationally-available datasets.

We wanted to maximise stakeholder engagement and synergies with existing projects so that we could gather as much as possible on the catchments in question.

Our other considerations included geology, soils, climate, land-use, population, infrastructure and pressures.

With all that in mind, we held a catchment selection workshop in November 2019 at which we decided on the four catchments listed below.


Click the map icons to learn more! You can also find a detailed overview of each catchment in the Appendix to the Feasibility report.

ecological status

What do we mean when we talk about the "ecological status" of rivers?


It's a term that comes from the European Water Framework Directive. All European water bodies are tested against this standard and are assigned a status of:


  • High

  • Good

  • Moderate

  • Poor

  • Bad

Having one framework for water quality for all 4,933 waterbodies in Ireland, and all those in Europe, allows us to compare results. Find out more in the video below. 


We provide the ecological status of the four catchments on the catchment pages.

Ecological status
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