The quality of water in Lough Foyle and Carlingford Lough is the focus of a planned new cross-border water improvement study, with the prospect of substantial money being made available for necessary works.
An initial €3.2 million has been allocated to SWELL, the Shared Waters Enhancement and Loughs Legacy initiative 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 the Republic, with the programme being 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 in Interreg funding to improve wastewater treatment.
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 the Newry, Mourne & Down and Louth council areas as well as the Lough Foyle drainage basin comprising the Derry City & Strabane and Donegal council areas.
Pic - 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. Picture: Michael Cooper