Mott MacDonald developed the Irish Government’s National Climate Change Sectoral Adaptation Plan for Water Quality and Water Services Infrastructure. This Plan will guide the adaptation of Ireland’s water sector to future climate risks, ensuring the continuing improvement of water quality and the provision of sustainable water and waste water services which are resilient to the effects of climate change. The development of this Plan fell under the Irish National Adaptation Framework (NAF) through which seven government Departments covering 12 sectors were requested to submit sectoral adaptation plans.
Guided by the NAF and collaboratively with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (DHPLG) and a large multi-sector stakeholder group, Mott MacDonald prepared the Sectoral Adaptation Plan for the Water Quality and Water Services Infrastructure Sectors.
Together with stakeholders including representatives from other government Departments, utilities, academia, local government and environmental agencies a broad spectrum of changes in climate and historical impacts on the sector were identified. From this initial assessment, and with a view towards sectoral priorities, we undertook a detailed assessment of those changes and impacts that may result in unacceptable consequences or potential benefits in the future.
The results directly informed the formulation of sectoral priorities and adaptive measures. These measures were aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to recognise the Plan’s contribution to international efforts towards a sustainable future.
This Adaptation Plan is an important first step in climate adaptation planning in the water sector in Ireland and sets a baseline for which future iterations of the plan can be measured against. The Plan, which has been subject to public consultation, has been approved by the government and will now enter the stage of addressing priority adaptive measures to the benefit of society, the environment and the water sector.
Many of the proposed adaptation actions are already underway and mainstreaming these measures into the operations and policies of all relevant stakeholders will be important to implementing climate action at national level. An example of these measures includes the River Basin Management Plan for Ireland 2018-2021 and Irish Water’s forthcoming National Water Resource Plan. This adaptation plan is the beginning of an iterative process and adaptation planning will need to be an ongoing process.
James Knightbridge, project manager, Mott MacDonald said: “We are delighted to have developed this important Plan for the water sector in Ireland with DHPLG, bringing together our teams across Ireland with our international expertise and experience of adaptation planning. Key to the success of this process was engagement with stakeholders from the water and other dependent sectors and incorporating their expertise and priorities into the planning and we are very grateful to all for their support in this.”
Professor David Viner, global practice leader – climate resilience, Mott MacDonald said: “Climate change and its impacts poses the greatest threat to how we live and how our environment will flourish, building resilience to climate change risks is therefore, essential. By initiating these studies, the Irish government has demonstrated clear understanding of the threats posed by climate change and their willingness to ensure that impacts are minimised.”