Groundwater is a valuable resource in terms of the provision of potable water supply. It is also extremely vulnerable. Approximately 20-25% of our drinking water is abstracted from groundwater sources and consequently its protection is vital. Groundwater may provide the base flow to surface water systems, and as such, its quality influences the economic, amenity and recreational value of surface waters.
The major threats to groundwater are:
- The inappropriate land spreading of organic wastes.
- Pollution caused from poorly managed onsite wastewater treatment systems.
- Pollution from underground storage of hydrocarbons.
Groundwater, once contaminated, is difficult to remediate and therefore pollution prevention and the application of the precautionary principle is the most advised course of action. In terms of protection policy, The Geological Survey of Ireland has prepared a Groundwater Protection Scheme for County Sligo.
Groundwater protection maps for County Sligo are available to view at; www.gsi.ie
Under the provisions of the Water Framework Directive all groundwater is required to achieve good status in terms of quality and quantitative status within timeframes specified in the national river basin district management plan. Based on the most recent monitoring data, carried out as part of the national groundwater monitoring programme, all groundwater in County Sligo is currently classified at good status.
Further information in relation to groundwater bodies and current water quality status in County Sligo is available to view at www.epamaps.ie.