Projects benefit from £260k water quality funding

Date published: 08 September 2023

Twelve community projects across Northern Ireland have benefitted from £260k to help improve water quality.

DARD news

Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) Chief Executive, Paul Donnelly, made the announcement during a visit to Armagh Angling Club.

He said: “I am delighted to announce this latest funding which is aimed at local communities and voluntary organisations who are running small projects to help improve water quality and the water environment in their local area.”

“NIEA cannot deliver the required improvements on water quality on its own, so Armagh Angling Club provides the perfect example of what can be achieved when we all work together. They work tirelessly to ensure the water quality in the Butterwater River which flows into Seagahan Reservoir improves by a programme of monitoring, pollution prevention and building relationships within the catchment area to bring about schemes such as this.

“Those groups receiving the funding are invaluable contributors acting as our eyes and ears on the river bank, picking up on problems and opportunities to improve water quality. Their close working relationship with NIEA is of mutual benefit as we both strive to improve water quality in the Blackwater Catchment and across Northern Ireland,” added Mr Donnelly.

Aidan Donnelly, Chairman of Armagh Angling Club, said: “We consider water quality to be a pivotal issue at the centre of all the work we do to improve the angling environment. We are delighted to be able to work with all stakeholders in the project on the Butterwater River.

“This funding will enable us to work collaboratively with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and local landowners to improve water quality on a very important river which contains a brown trout spawning habitat.”

As well as engagement and education with community and landowners the group are looking at nature-based solutions like buffer strips along watercourses to reduce the potential of pollutants entering them.

Seagahan Reservoir which is owned by NI Water is a source for drinking water for a population of 38,000 in parts of Co Armagh including Armagh City.

Rebecca Allen from NI Water welcomed the announcement and the work of the Armagh anglers.

She said: “NI Water fully supports the work which Armagh Angling Club have planned along the Butterwater River. The catchment management interventions they have developed will greatly assist NI Water through improving the quality of the raw, untreated water in Seagahan dam, ready to be treated and supplied to our customers in the area.”

NIEA Chief Executive, Paul Donnelly concluded: “Every person in Northern Ireland should consider how their behaviour impacts on the water environment, from being efficient with the volume of water they use to ensuring all our waste water is connected to the foul sewerage system, either septic tank or main sewer network.

“We can all take simple steps to improve water quality such as reducing the amount of chemicals we use everyday by using natural methods of weed control, or encouraging wildflower areas in our gardens to increase biodiversity. We all have a part to play in this long-term effort to positively contribute to a sustained improvement in our water environment.”

This funding is part of the 2023/24 Water Quality Improvement Strand which offers funding up to 85% of eligible projects. Grants were available between £5,000 and £30,000 through the competition.

Notes to editors: 

1. The call for funding under the Water Quality Improvement Strand of the Environment Fund opened on 8 February 2023 and closed on 10 March 2023.

2. The three key themes for funding under this Challenge Competition were:

  • Connecting people with the aquatic environment to achieve behavioural change

  • Conservation, protection and restoration of our aquatic environments

  • Nature-based solutions, particularly for climate change mitigation and adaptation

3. Follow DAERA on Twitter at and Facebook.

4. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office: or telephone: 028 9052 4619.

5. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours’ service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

6. Water Quality Improvement Strand 2023/24 Awarded Grants


Project Title


Cleanups, outflow and river stress safaris, Lower Bann & Roe

Creggan Country Park Enterprises Ltd   

Restoring the Ressi Phase 3

Clogher & District Angling Club

Lough More ‘Slow the Flow’ Phase 1

Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council   

Upper River Fane Water Quality Phase 1

Speedwell Trust 

The Torrent River Project

Armagh Angling Club  

Butterwater River - Source Protection for Seagahan Dam

Glenavy Conservation and Angling Club

Love our Water – Love our Fish Project Phase III

Edenderry Rod & Gun Club   

Source Protection for Edenderry Lough

Omagh Anglers Association

Owenreagh River Restoration Scheme (ORRS)

Ballycastle and District Angling Club

Margy River Habitat Enhancement Project

Binevenagh and Coastal Lowlands Landscape

Peatland Restoration Project at Alitkeeragh Bog ASSI

Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council

Research and trialling various methods of environmentally friendly Weed Control within various Council Sites that will inform a Council strategy

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