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Future Threats

Mid Roscommon GWS, Mid Roscommon Co-Operative Society Ltd.
Mid Roscommon GWS, Mid Roscommon Co-Operative Society Ltd.

What threats do Group Water Schemes have to prepare for into the future? Outlined below are future projections of the Irish climate (relative to 1961-1990) and possible risks Group Water Schemes will have to adapt to.


Projections for mean temperature change ('C)

Projections for mean precipitation change (%)

Such changes in the Irish climate are capable of instigating significant adverse effects on the Irish Group Water Scheme sector which are outlined below:


  • Deterioration of raw water quality which would require additional treatment. This will prove particularly problematic for GWS's in DBO contracts where treatment processes are designed to cope with agreed parametric values. In the event of a deterioration in paramters such as colour, turbidity and total organic cabon, values may no longer be in spec with those agreed in the contract. A decrease in raw water quality for non-DBO schemes will entail additional treatment costs, particularly where the need arises for improved filtration pre-disinfection. 


  • Decreases in stream flow (greatest in summer and autumn months).


  • Reduced levels of groundwater in all types of aquifers.


  • Availability of groundwater in fissured and karstic aquifers where there is a fast throughput of water could significantly decrease in summer months.


  • Groundwater sources that flow from poorly productive aquifers will have an increased likelihood of drying up due to reductions in recharge periods.


  • Alterations in the growing season due to the increased frequency of shorer, more intense periods of rainfall.


  • Regional water shortages due to prolonged dry periods and drought conditions.


  • Variation in agricultural practices in Ireland, which will increase the usage of irrigation systems in the south and east of Ireland.


  • Prolonged dry periods and higher temperatures, followed by intensive rainfall will increase the likelihood and the intensity of lake stratification and algal blooms, while also increasing the risk of nutrient run-off.


  • An increase in rainfall and flooding also has the potential to contaminate and pollute all types of water sources.

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