The €50m Water European Innovation Partnership (EIP) announced last summer has reached implementation stage, with 15,000 farmers now being sought for the scheme.

The EIP is to put farmers “at the centre of decision-making and mapping of measures”.

The five-year project aims to reduce phosphorus, nitrogen, sediment and pesticide losses from land through measures that bring additional benefits for biodiversity and climate.

Measures which farmers will be paid to implement include riparian margins, ponds and earthen banks to divert soiled water away from drains. Teagasc has stated that hedgerow establishment, crossings over waterways, gateway relocation and water drinkers are among measures that will be funded through the scheme.

The scheme will be run by the Local Authority Waters Programme, in partnership with Teagasc and Dairy Industry Ireland, following on from Teagasc’s Agricultural Sustainability Support and Advisory Programme.

Around 100 farmers have already piloted the Department of Agriculture-funded scheme in October 2023 and January 2024, with the first round of grants currently issuing to farmers.

A further €10m in funds have been allocated by the Department of Housing to administer the scheme, which will be the largest EIP ever rolled out in the State.