Clean Water

Provision of clean drinking water:

Our rivers, lakes and wells are the sources of our drinking water. The water in rivers and lakes can become contaminated as the result of runoff from agricultural land.  This runoff may include slurry, antibiotics, pesticides, fertilisers and other chemicals.  Slurry is a source of E.coli contamination which can be fatal.

Eutrophication is a term used to describe the overabundant growth of green plant material in water.  It is caused by excessive quantities of Nitrogen and Phosphorous (contained in fertilisers) reaching the water.  Eutrophication is a significant problem in Irish rivers.

Chemicals, such as heavy metals, pesticides and herbicides (such as Glyphosate) have been found in the Irish water supply.  Some water supplies have persistent issues with pesticide detections. 

30% of Ireland’s private wells are contaminated by E.Coli. Ireland has the highest rate of groundwater E.Coli contamination in Europe.

One third (1,460) of Ireland’s 4,829 waterbodies are at risk of not meeting Water Framework Directive (WFD) status objectives.

What needs to be done:

  • Farmers must switch to organic farming methods which avoid the use of both chemicals and artificial fertilisers. 
  • By switching from animal to plant-based farming the problem of slurry and antibiotic contamination would be eliminated.