The EPA Hydrology Bulletin for July 2022 was published this week. Monthly reports are issued and this latest report for July shows rainfall below long-term average for July across the country with the lowest in the south.
- 47% of river monitoring stations observed monthly average flows either ‘below normal’ or ‘particularly low’ for this time of year.
- 44% of monitored lakes showed average levels fall with 32% of lakes level monitoring stations recording either ‘below normal’ or ‘particularly low’ levels for July.
- 75% of groundwater monitoring stations were ‘below normal’ or had ‘particularly low’ levels for this time of year.
All monthly rainfall totals across the country were below their 1981-2010 Long-Term Average (LTA).
July average river flows fell at 83% monitoring stations compared to average flows observed in June. River flows were classed mainly in the ‘normal’ to ‘below normal’ range with ‘particularly low’ flows observed in the east and south east.
Lake and Turlough Levels
Average water levels for July decreased at 44% of monitored lakes compared to average levels for June. y.
Groundwater Levels and Spring Flows
Average groundwater levels in July decreased at 91% of monitoring wells compared to average levels observed in June. Of those monitored across the country 55% were ‘below normal’ and 20% were ‘particularly low’ .
Low flow levels impacts the habitats of fauna and flora living in the water and it also can raise the temperature of the water and subsequent oxygen levels that many aquatic species are sensitive to.
One way of mitigating or minimising these impacts is to reduce water demand particularly in areas where there is the greatest impacts such as the south and east of the country. The Water Forum has consistently called for the development of Drought Management Plans so that there is a more pro-active approach to building resilience to the impact of climate change.
There is also a need to raise awareness of the need to conserve water particularly in the summer months. The Forum’s research report on Domestic Water Conservation highlighted that 19% of energy used in the home is to heat water, so using less water will reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.