Fulbright Scholar to Speak at NUI Galway's Water Seminar

Monday, 23 February 2009

The EU's Water Framework Directive is the subject of an upcoming workshop at NUI Galway on 5 March, from 2.30-4.30pm. Speakers will include the Fulbright Scholar Dr Jon MacDonagh-Dumler of the Institute for Water Research at Michigan State University. Ireland has similar water management problems to the Great Lakes region, and Dr MacDonagh-Dumler is currently based at NUI Galway researching the workings of the Water Framework Directive and factors that influence its management and implementation in Ireland. The Water Framework Directive (WFD) brings together, in one management scheme, the regulations of 11 existing major EU directives, to which Member States must comply. Following public consultation, Ireland and other EU countries will implement the first water management plan at the end of 2009. According to Dr MacDonagh-Dumler: "I have observed that the WFD management plan is designed to coordinate and improve existing management programmes that impact water resources, thus making the whole effort more efficient and effective. It also introduces novel opportunities for collaboration among many different stakeholders, including the public". Dr MacDonagh-Dumler's research project is being hosted by Dr Brendan Flynn of the School of Political Science and Sociology at NUI Galway, who comments: "Ireland has much to gain from the four decade long American experience of clean water policy, but in my view that story is not really much understood by key policy actors or academics in Ireland. An authoritative American voice on these matters would add considerably to the Irish debate on clean water policies". Other perspectives at the seminar on 5 March, which is entitled 'The EU Water Framework Directive: Irish, European and American Perspectives' will come from speakers Francis Jacobs, Head of European Parliament Representations, and Sinead O'Brien, Chair of SWAN (Sustainable Water Network Ireland). The event is aimed at environmental researchers with a broad interest in water policy, and the general public with an interest in water quality and sustainability issues. According to Dr Martina Prendergast, Development Manager of the Environmental Change Institute at NUI Galway, which is supporting the event: "Dr MacDonagh-Dumler will be able to give us insights into the excellent 'state of the art' methodologies and academic traditions from the USA. Sinead O'Brien of SWAN will speak about the crucial question of public participation. This event offers a vital and timely contribution towards an issue of pressing concern in Ireland - our growing environmental problems". Registration for the event is free, for further information email brendan.flynn@nuigalway.ie
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