Today, March 22nd Is World Water Day.

Here in Thurles Town river walkways are expanded, using tarmac, while the water quality of the River Suir itself remains totally ignored by both Thurles Municipal District and Tipperary Co. Council.
The River Suir here in Thurles, Co. Tipperary like so many waterways, in less than 20 years has gone from being pristine clear water to the imitation of almost an open sewer.

Who is responsible for the management of watercourses?

World Water Day is held on March 22nd every year. It is an annual United Nations Observance, first begun in 1993, and held every year since, which is supposed to celebrates water and raises awareness of the 2 billion people currently living without access to safe, clean water.

River Suir passing through Thurles Town.

Not that many people care, but World Water Day is supposed to highlight the importance of fresh water and the sustainable management of this most precious of God given resources.

This years World Water Day event focused on groundwater quality and highlight a reminder urging the public to engage with the draft River Basin Management Plan public consultation, which closes at the end of this month.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), (whose press releases are regularly featured here on Thurles.Info), recent reports have indicated that nitrate concentrations in our groundwater are continuing to increase.

River Suir passing through Thurles Town.

In the words of groundwater expert and 2020 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate, Mr John Cherry, groundwater is “the Earth’s life support system”. It regulates the freshwater cycle, acting as a giant sponge that can absorb surplus water and mitigate shortages, making it of vital importance in terms of adaptation to climate variability.

Of significant concern is the fact that Ireland is now experiencing a sustained decline in water quality. From a total number of 4842 water bodies in Ireland, the status of our water in lakes, rivers and coastal waters as “good status” or better lies at between 50 and 53%.

River Suir passing through Thurles Town.

Overall, water quality is in decline due to a number of pressures including agricultural activity, hydro-morphology and urban waste water.

Key measures required to address the decline in water quality include reducing the loss of soil from farmland into water, reducing the physical impacts on waters caused by drainage measures barriers such as weirs and continued investment in urban and rural water services.

A key tool in the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD), the next River Basin Management Plan will contain the programme of measures that will help Ireland protect, improve and sustainably manage our water environment to 2027.

Achieving good water quality in our rivers, lakes, estuaries and seas is essential for protecting Ireland’s drinking water sources, environment and people’s quality of life.

As part of the consultation process, over 1000 people have attended 63 regional meetings held by the Local Authority Water Programme (LAWPRO) throughout the country, to receive information on the draft River Basin Management Plan and have their say on measures to improve water quality over the next five years.

A programme of stakeholder engagement has also taken place through meetings with environmental NGOs, agricultural groups, Local Authorities and other water groups.

Members of the public can submit their views on water quality via the public consultation HERE.


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