The EPA carried out a six year assessment on Irish rivers, streams, lakes, canals and waterways. It was carried out between 2011 and 2016 and the results showed a serious decline in the quality of water around the country.
The report also said that there was an increase in the number of fish kills in the country, though the number of severely polluted waterways has decreased slightly. The number of fish kills due to the water was up by 27 to 97 from a period between 2007-2009.
The report found 91% of groundwater bodies, 57% of rivers, 46% of lakes and 31% of estuaries to have good quality waters. While 79% of Ireland’s coastal regions were also found to be achieving a high status. Water quality of water canals remains high, with the exception of the Shannon Erne canal.
Six rivers around the country were given a bad water quality status, this is compared to 19 recorded back in 2009. These results mean that Ireland have failed to meet targets set out by the government to decrease pollution and improve water quality by 13%.
Meanwhile previous studies showed the number of high status rivers was at 287 between 2007 and 2009, while the number now stands at 245. The real reasons why the objectives were not met is reported to be due to nutrient losses from agriculture as well the domestic water discharges. It is said that diffuse nutrient runoff and sediment from lands are the main cause of agricultural pollution.
The EPA also determined that there are currently 21 pristine quality sites in the country, down from a staggering 500 plus in the 1980s. Ireland, as mentioned above, had set a target of a 13% improvement in overall water quality, a target which has not been met according to the EPA assessment.
Matt Craig, senior scientific officer with the EPA, said it is a huge concern that the approaches taken to combat the problem are not working.
He continued, "We need to be targeting different protective measures in different areas."