To celebrate World Water Day the Waters and Communities Office and Inland Fisheries Ireland are organising the creation of a ‘Vision for Sheelin Catchment’.
Published on: 20 Mar 2018
Communities in Oldcastle, Mountnugent and Ballyjamesduff are asked to come along to community meetings to create their vision for the rivers that flow into Lough Sheelin.
World Water Day is celebrated across the world on 22 March every year. The aim of World Water Day is to focus attention on the importance of water for our health and wellbeing. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) promotes World Water day to raise awareness of water and water-related issues locally, nationally and globally.
Although Ireland is a water-rich country in that we get lots of rainfall, we also use a lot of water. Globally agricultural production accounts for 70% of water usage and in Ireland we produce a lot of food. We are the 5th largest exporter of beef in the world and it takes approximately 15,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of beef.
Regardless of the amount of water we have at our disposal, the real challenge is to keep it clean. Many of our modern-day activities impact on water quality including simple things like washing our clothes and cars to managing our waste whether through septic tanks or waste water treatment plants. In Ireland, nearly 50% of our rivers are below satisfactory standard whilst over 50% of lakes are below the water quality standard required by the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD).
In recent years we have seen the occurrence of more frequent and fierce storms that many associate with climate change.These have had devastating effects with many parts of the country suffering severe flooding with negative impacts on landowner’s property and wellbeing, as well as reduced farm incomes and subsequent crisis such as lack of fodder for animals.
The theme for World Water Day 2018 is ‘Nature for Water’and explores nature-based solutions (NBS) to the water challenges of the 21st century. There are many NBS that could and are being applied in Ireland such as creating buffer zones of vegetation along water courses which helps protect water courses from pollution from agriculture and septic tanks. In Ireland and globally in recent years, we have lost huge amounts of wetlands and peatlands.Recreating and protecting natural wetlands into the future is hugely important to minimise flood risk and to improve water quality through silt retention and pollution trapping. Reconnecting rivers to floodplains and allowing space for the river will be a very important measure to protect against flooding from severe weather events. For more information on ‘The answer is in nature’ see http://worldwaterday.org
We are hoping that some of the above measures might form part of the community ‘vision’ for the Sheelin catchment. We are going to use community development methodologies at our upcoming meetings to assist local communities to develop a plan for their own catchments.
The meetings schedule is:
Oldcastle Ceili House Hotel 8pm Thursday, 19 April
Mountnugent Crover House Hotel 8pm Thursday, 26 April
Ballyjamesduff St. Joseph’s Hall 8pm Tuesday, 1 May
The Waters and Communities Office has been set up to support local communities develop projects and actions to improve local water quality in our lakes and rivers. If you would like to find out more about creating a vision for the Sheelin catchment why not contact your local community water officer. Gretta McCarron is Community Water Officer for Cavan, Monaghan and Louth and would be delighted to hear from groups at firstname.lastname@example.org.