Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
You must have authorisation from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) to abstract water from:
You may also need authorisation from the NIEA if you own, operate, maintain or plan an impoundment, such as a reservoir, which is used to store water.
Abstracting less than 10 cubic metres (m³) of water a day with minimal risk to the environment is called a permitted controlled activity (PCA). You don't need to contact the NIEA, but you must:
If you take between 10m³ and 20m³ a day, you must notify the NIEA and comply with PCA conditions.
If you abstract more than 20m³ you need an abstraction licence from the NIEA. You will need a:
Both licences may be subject to conditions such as the maximum rate at which you can abstract water and the maximum volume you can take in any day.
You can impound water without contacting the NIEA as long as your impoundment:
You will need an impoundment licence from the NIEA to impound water in all other circumstances.
The NIEA can review, modify or remove a licence if the licence holder requests it, or to prevent significant or serious damage to the environment. You may also need to submit an environmental statement to the NIEA before starting projects that use more than 200m³ of water per day, for example agricultural spray irrigation.
DAERA has produced a handbook is for landowners and people and organisations involved in carrying out activities that may alter the physical characteristics or flows of rivers and other waterbodies. The activities covered include dredging and substrate addition, removal of bankside vegetation, bed and bank reinforcements, flow manipulation and culverting.
Water use authorisations in Northern Ireland
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