1 Introduction</h5> Improving water quality in Ireland, in particular for the eutrophication in lakes, rivers and coasts, remains one of the key environmental challenges ( Fenton et al., 2011; Toner et al., 2005 ). Among the substances responsible for eutrophication, nitrate (NO 3 − –N) leaching from agricultural soils is by far the most important contributor ( Nguyen et al., 2010 ). There has been considerable legislation, at the European and national levels, which has lead to the introduction of the Nitrates Directive (1991/676/EC) and the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC). Both of these legislative instruments require mandatory actions and measures to be introduced to ensure good water quality ( Stark and Richards, 2008 ). The 2007–2009 biological surveys ( McGarrigle et al., 2010 ) has shown another slight improvement in overall surface water quality, with 69% of river channel length classified as unpolluted. On the other hand national groundwater quality is still under threat as 40% of the monitoring locations showed 10–25 mg NO 3 − L −1 , 16% of the monitoring locations exceeded 25 mg L −1 NO 3 − and 3% exceeded 50 mg L −1 NO 3 − ( Craig et al., 2010 ).</P>In
Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2015
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