Paper and cardboard manufacturing environmental regulation

Paper manufacturing water use authorisations


The paper industry uses large volumes of water in the production process, including as a fibre carrier and as a solvent. You should reuse water within your process wherever possible.

If you take or store surface water or groundwater from any source, you are abstracting or impounding water.

If you abstract or impound surface water or groundwater you can affect the environment and other water users.

Water abstraction licence - when you need one

You must have an abstraction licence from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) if you abstract more than 20 cubic metres (m³) of water per day from groundwater or surface waters.

If you abstract 20m³ or less of water per day you must:

  • be able to demonstrate the volume of water you abstract
  • minimise water leaks
  • prevent any contamination or pollution

If you abstract between 10m³ and 20m³ of water per day you must also notify NIEA using their application form for an abstraction and impoundment licence. Download an application for a licence to abstract or impound water (DOC, 159K).

Water impoundment licence - when you need one

You can impound water without contacting NIEA as long as your impoundment:

  • does not control the water level upstream
  • is not associated with a water abstraction
  • does not create a difference in height of more than one metre between the upstream and downstream water surfaces

You will need an impoundment licence from NIEA to impound water in all other circumstances.

DfI Rivers consent - when you need it

You must have consent from DfI Rivers before you place structures in any waterway that could affect its drainage.