The European Union has invested €35m in a major cross-border project to improve water quality in Carlingford Lough and Lough Foyle.
The Shared Waters Enhancement & Loughs Legacy (SWELL) project was officially launched in Derry on Tuesday. It will see enhanced wastewater treatment being built for Lough Foyle, between Derry and Donegal, and for Carlingford Lough, between Down and Louth.
The €35M fund will come from the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.
It provides for the construction of new wastewater treatment works as well as upgrades to sewerage networks on both sides of the border to address wastewater pollution in Carlingford Lough and Lough Foyle.
The four-year project – which is being led by Northern Ireland Water working in partnership with Irish Water, the Agri-Food Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Loughs Agency and East Border Region – will culminate in the development of a unique environmental legacy model that can be used to achieve further improvements in water quality in these shared waters.
The work being carried out under the SWELL project will involve a total of eight wastewater infrastructure upgrades, as well as catchment studies and ecosystem modelling, within the Carlingford Lough drainage basin (within Newry, Mourne & Down and Louth council areas) and the Lough Foyle drainage basin (comprising Derry City & Strabane and Donegal council areas).
The improvements to the wastewater assets will help contribute to raising the current EU Water Framework Directive status of ‘moderate’ to ‘good’.
Match-funding for the project has been provided by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government in Ireland and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland.
Pictured below, L-R, are Pamela Arthurs, East Border Region, Michael O’Leary, Irish Water, Sharon McMahon, Loughs Agency, Eoghan Murphy, TD, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Gina McIntyre, SEUPB, Denis McMahon Permanent Secretary, DAERA, Paul Harper, NI Water and Matt Service, AFBI. Picture: Michael Cooper