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21/03/18 World Water Day 22 Mar 2018

River Erne

The River Erne flowing in to Donegal Bay. ©JMcVeigh

 

World Water Day is celebrated on 22nd March right across the world.  It aims to focus attention on the importance of clean freshwater for our lives and our livelihoods.  The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) promotes World Water Day to raise awareness of the need to manage water resources locally, nationally and globally.

 

Although Ireland is a water-rich country, in that we get lots of rainfall, we rely heavily on a steady supply of clean water as is evidenced by the recent rationing of water in and around Dublin during storm Emma. Globally agricultural production accounts for 70% of water usage and we have a large agricultural sector in Ireland that depends on a reliable source of clean water. 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. Normal activities we take for granted can impact negatively on water quality including simple things like washing our clothes and cars to flushing our toilets. In Ireland, nearly 50% of our rivers and over 50% of lakes are below the good quality standard required by the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD).

 

In recent years we have experienced fierce and frequent storms that many associate with climate change. These severe weather events have caused widespread flooding and devastation to our countryside and urban areas impacting massively on people’s lives and livelihoods.  The impact on farms and livestock has been particularly severe resulting in lack of fodder and reduced farm incomes.

 

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 being successfully applied in Ireland, for example planting of trees and native woodlands to soak up flood waters, and creating buffer zones of vegetation along water courses to intercept surface water run-off from agriculture and forestry activities. In Ireland and globally in the past 200 years, we have lost 70% of natural wetlands and peatlands. The protection of these areas and the regeneration of wetlands into the future is hugely important as these areas store water to help reduce flood risk and improve water quality through silt retention and pollutant trapping. Reconnecting rivers to floodplains and allowing space for the river to spill over will be an important natural measure to help reduce the impact of flooding following severe weather events. For more information on ‘The answer is in nature’ see http://worldwaterday.org

 

These natural based solutions are also known as ‘green infrastructure’ and these can offer other potential benefits for the environment, wildlife and local communities. 

 

The Local Authority Waters and Communities Office supports local communities develop ideas and projects that can protect and improve water quality in our streams, rivers, lakes and coasts. If you would like to find out more about ‘green infrastructure’ or would like to get involved in protecting your local waterbody you can contact Jimmy McVeigh in the Donegal Waters & Communities Office on 0858085603 or jmcveigh@lawco.ie

 

Please visit our website for more information about the Waters and Communities Office www.watersandcommunities.ie

 

For more information about your local waterbody see www.catchments.ie for maps and news.

 

You will find further information on social media with #WorldWaterDay2018.

21/05/18 Donegal County Council to honour Altan

Altan

Altan who will be honoured with a civic reception.

 

The County House in Lifford will be the venue for a very special Civic Reception this evening when the Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council Cllr. Gerry McMonagle and the elected members of Donegal County Council honour and pay tribute to the internationally acclaimed Irish folk music band Altan.

 

Altan was founded in the mid eighties by Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and her late husband Frankie Kennedy and has performed across the globe and collaborated with music greats such as Dolly Parton, Enya, The Chieftains and Bonnie Raitt.

 

Speaking in advance of the civic reception Cathaoirleach Cllr. Gerry Monagle said “I am delighted to be hosting this Civic Reception to honour the outstanding achievements and contribution made by Altan.  For 30 years they have shared the story of Donegal through their unique music.  They have inspired and moved audiences and they have brought the beauty of Irish traditional music to all parts of the world.  And in doing this they have conveyed the essence of Donegal and of our special sense of place in the world.  It is truly an honour to be in a position to host this civic reception which is our way of conveying our gratitude for all they have done and achieved”.

 

The event will take place at 6pm this evening in the County House in Lifford.

Irish Water staff join the Clean Coasts Big Beach Clean for a third year

Irish Water Logo 379 x 269Clean Coasts Logo

 

 

Irish Water staff joined representatives of Clean Coasts at a Big Beach Clean in Murvagh Beach, Co Donegal last week.

 

More than 15 people took part in the clean-up which was organised to coincide with Clean Coasts’ Big Beach Clean weekend which ran from September 14-16. This event is part of the world’s largest beach clean and marine litter survey. Marine litter such as plastic bottles, fishing litter and food packaging are common finds on our beaches. Last year, 789,138 volunteers in more than 100 countries collected nearly 9.3 million kilograms of marine litter during last year’s International Coastal Cleanup event.

 

Each year millions of tonnes of marine litter enter our seas and oceans, resulting in environmental, economic, health and aesthetic challenges. As part of the Big Beach Clean weekend, volunteers are encouraged to help remove marine litter from our beautiful coastline and in turn protect our coastal habitats and marine life.

 

The Murvagh Clean Up was organised by local Irish Water staff, supported by Clean Coast representative, Beckey-Finn Britton. 

 

Speaking about the event Peter Gallagher, Irish Water’s A/Regional Operations Manager, said: “We are delighted to take part in the Big Beach Clean for a third year. We have all seen the evidence of marine litter along our coastline so it is great to have an opportunity to do something positive to combat the problem and also raise awareness about the issue. Every piece of litter removed from the coast is a piece of litter that won’t pollute our oceans or harm wildlife. In Irish Water we are committed to improving the quality of Ireland’s bathing waters and are delivering projects right across the country that will stop the discharge of untreated wastewater into our oceans by 2021.”

 

Irish Water also supports the Think Before You Flush campaign which aims to tackle the problem of sewage-related litter on Ireland’s beaches. Every day people flush thousands of sanitary items such as baby wipes and cotton bud sticks down the toilet instead of simply putting them in the bin. Other items that are frequently flushed down the toilet include cigarette butts and plasters. This can create unsightly litter on our beaches and cause serious damage to wildlife and the marine environment. It can also lead to blockages in sewers and wastewater treatment plants.

 

For more information log onto the Think Before You Flush webpage.

 

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