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Key areas that impact water quality
Agriculture:
Slurry spreading on lands that are unable to retain it, resulting in the slurry getting into the local water system which causes enrichment and pollutes the system. This issue is addressed in the EU Nitrates Directive, which was signed off by the Irish Government in early December 2005. The initial EU Nitrates Directive was issued 15 years ago.


Soil enrichment from domestic tank leakage


Leechate oozing from soakpit of septic tank

 

Sewage:


Lack of and often-inadequate sewage systems in riparian towns and villages means that raw sewage gets directly into the water system. A problem also exists with rural septic tanks where output from old and poorly maintained tanks seep into the local water system. Raw sewage in a drinking water system is a major risk to public health. The EU Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive and the Drinking Water Directive are addressing this issue, the Irish Government and the Local Authorities are slow to implement these Directives.

Forestry:
Coillte are the largest landowner in the state with over 6% of the country’s landmass, private forestry possible accounts for a similar acreage. The planting of dense economically un-viable non-native timbers in sensitive acid peat environment causes many eco problems.
These conifers need fertiliser and pesticides to secure their growth. Particular problems occur at harvesting due to the disturbance of the soil and the subsequent wash off of the fertilisers and chemicals. Action plans are beginning to emerge which will correct these issues.

The Group has demanded the following Action Plan to address the above problems:


Forestation: -

An immediate cessation of all activity relating to coniferous forestation within the catchment of
The Great Western Lakes.

A halt to all E.U. Grant Aid for Conifer Forestry on peat lands.

The full implementation of SAC status, where applicable, in the sensitive areas surrounding the
Great Western Lakes.

 

Municipal Sewage Systems and Domestic/Private Effluent Systems: -
Full tertiary treatment with phosphorus removal facilities to apply to all municipal sewage
discharges within the catchment.

An inspectorate system to be set up for all private/domestic effluent treatment systems, with a requirement that they be serviced annually.

Some scientific method must be found to deal with the chemical effluent from rural housing.

Government programme introduced to have phosphorus free detergents more affordable and an
educational programme put in place for the general public.

Agricultural Practice: -
To ensure that there is a major reduction in land loss n
utrients to waters within the catchment.

An awareness campaign for farming practices in sensitive catchment areas.

A Grant Aid schemes where necessary to protect sensitive areas, i.e. SAC’s.

Requests for immediate action: -

The Carra Mask Corrib Water Protection Group demand and expect that the above environmental
policy document to be implemented in its entirely and nothing less will be acceptable.
A comprehensive Government Policy to save Lough Corrib must be forthcoming.

Our Water System – The Evidence:

• 74 % of all water sources and 87% of high yielding wells and springs show the presence of e.coli and/or ammonia.
• Bacteria from faeces (coliforms) are present in 60% of the 377 private water systems supplying tens of thousands of homes in Galway County.
• Consumption of nitrate-rich water can cause “blue-baby syndrome” or methaemoglobinaemia.
• The increasing algae blooms (Cyanobasteria) seen during spells on our lakes can produce a toxin as potent as cyanide. Blooms of this type have occurred on Loughs Corrib and Mask, the main source of drinking water in the west.

Facts about Fresh Water:

• Water is a precious commodity vital for sustaining plant and animal life. The human body is about two thirds water. The average persons need to take about 8 glasses per day.
• 70 % of the earth’s surface contains water yet only 1% is usable
• Over the past century the global population has grown three fold yet the demand for water has increased six fold.
• The UN believes that two thirds of the world’s population will experience drinking water shortages by 2025.
• Over the next twenty years water use will increase by 40%.
• In the developing world over 2.2 million people die each year from water related shortages/diseases.

What you can do to help:

Every household can help reduce their output of phosphates and nitrates by ensuring they are using environmentally friendly detergents, powders and liquids.

Anglers going ashore should take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints.

Farmers should assess the benefits of spreading slurry and fertiliser on saturated lands, especially close to the waterside, particularly during and after rainfall.

Foresters should consider the damage caused by way of increased acidification of water caused by the planting of trees too close to the sides of streams and lakes.

Waterside housing should use waste treatment plants as their human waste management systems.

 

 

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