Ground Water

A Valuable Resource

Surface water is any water body confined to channels or lake catchments. Conversely ground water is an unseen resource without boundaries. It is also extremely vulnerable. Ground water may feed lakes and thereby influence it’s trophic status. It may also be the source of schemes and private water supplies. Approximately 20-25% of our drinking water is abstracted from groundwater sources and consequently its protection is vital. During certain weather conditions, there is interaction between ground and surface water. Groundwater may provide the base flow to water systems above ground, as such, it’s quality influences the amenity and recreational value of surface water.


By its nature, ground water, once contaminated, is difficult to remediate and therefore pollution prevention and the application of the precautionary principle is the most advised course of action.


The major threats to groundwater are:

  • The inappropriate land spreading of agricultural wastes.
  • Pollution caused from poorly managed onsite wastewater treatment systems.
  • Pollution from underground storage of hydrocarbons.


It is Sligo County Councils intention to engage the Geological Survey Ireland to prepare a groundwater Protection Scheme for the County over the coming years.