Achieving WFD Objectives: The issue of time delays
The RBMP 2018-2021 set WFD objectives for maintaining status or improving status in 3126 water bodies. While many of these water bodies are achieving their objectives, in some cases achieving the required improvements will take time. Estimating the time it takes for improvements to occur is a critical issue for a variety of reasons, including ensuring that expectations are realistic.
The Briefing Note prepared by Donal Daly on behalf of An Fóram Uisce provides an initial appraisal of some of the 3 components influencing delays: policy factors, landscape and water factors and measurement factors.
It then focuses on time lags at source, along the pathway and at the receptor for two significant issues, phosphate (PO4) and nitrate (NO3), arising from spreading of fertilizer (organic and inorganic) on farmland and impacting on watercourses and groundwater; however, some of the content is relevant to point sources and to sediment from diffuse sources. The information and tables within are considered to provide a systematic approach for determining time delays and projected dates for achieving the WFD status objectives for At Risk water bodies, which can either be used directly or in an amended form.
An Fóram Uisce considers that an analysis and estimation of such time delays is essential not only for communication purposes, but also to assist work and resource planning and to enable projections on dates for restoration to the required water body status.