Ireland will not meet a European deadline to have a formal water protection strategy in place to protect the country's rivers, lakes and coastal waters.

Tomorrow is World Water Day and also the deadline for submission of River Basin Management Plans to the European Commission in accordance with the EU Water Framework Directive.

There are eight river basin districts on the island of Ireland, seven of which are either all or partly in the Republic, and local authorities have been drafting their protection plans.

However, a spokesperson for Minister for Environment John Gormley has said the plans had not yet even arrived on Mr Gormley's desk and so tomorrow's deadline would not be met.

Environmental campaigners are warning that the plans fail to protect the country's rivers, lakes and coastal waters.

The 'Sustainable Water Network' environmental group said it has seen the plans and they are 'wholly inadequate' and 'disgraceful'.

The group of 24 environmental organisations is calling on the Minister not to sign-off on the plans until they are greatly improved.

It also claimed that Minister Gormley is allowing Ireland's waters to be ruined by pollution.