We have one of the highest rates of water availability in Europe. We receive enough water in the form of precipitation on a national level to sustain ourselves and our natural environment. However, the water availability per head of population is much greater in the West of the country than in the East. The uneven distribution means that despite our wet weather, some areas of the country may experience water scarcity. The uneven distribution is due to regional climatic differences.
Differences in the regional climate in Ireland impact on the rainfall patterns. This figure shows the distribution of rainfall in Ireland. The presence of mountains in the West means that conditions are more favourable for rainfall. In some mountainous areas rainfall can exceed 2000 mm per year. Kerry, Galway and Donegal are among the wettest and most mountainous regions while Kildare, Dublin and Meath are relatively flat and are the driest areas.
Rainfall isn’t the only factor that impacts on water availability. Temperatures also are a factor. In Ireland the sunny South-East is know to one of the warmest and driest parts of the country. This is due to the fact that it gets low annual rainfall but also that it has more hours of sunshine annually than anywhere in Ireland. Climate change is going to have an impact on our weather patterns but altering the distribution of rainfall and also leading to drier Summers and wetter Winters in the East. This could see a knock on effect with more water shortages in some parts of the country (the East) and more flooding in other parts (the West). Population increases will also impact on water availability. The distribution of population already means that there is greater demand for water in the East of the country. Ie. Of the 4.2 million people living in this country, 1 million of them live in the GDA – yet this is one of the driest areas of the country. By 2021 there may be up to 1 million extra people living in Ireland who will all need access to clean, safe water which will increase pressure on our water supplies.
The condition of our water quality has been in decline over the past number of decades. Acc the EPA over 70 % of our rivers have good water quality – less than 1 % are seriously polluted. Rivers that are in areas that are intensively farmed or have a higher population are of lower quality. Over 85 % of lakes have good water quality. Only 36 % of the estuarine and coastal areas assessed by the EPA are classified as polluted. The quality of coastal waters is determined by their nutrient levels. There are 131 designated bathing areas in Ireland and 97% of these comply with the minimum European standards.
Eutrophication is the over-enrichment or pollution of water with nutrients: nitrogen, and phosphorous. Excess nutrients can cause decline in water quality by allowing the excessive growth and decay of algae in surface waters. These algae and plants decay with the help of bacteria but the bacteria uses the oxygen in the water. This reduces the level of oxygen need by fish and other aquatic plants. Eutrophication leads to fish kills at effected sites.
Zebra mussels can filter as much as 1 litre of water per day through their gills. They remove phytoplankton, small zooplankton and bacteria amongst other things. As a result of this activity, the food web of their new habitat is changed. Studies have shown that this leads to reductions in different populations of fish. Zebra mussels attach onto the shells of swan mussels (Anodontasp.), preventing them from feeding, resulting in death of the swan mussels. Biofouling Costs MoneyZebra mussels can have a serious economic effect at facilities that depend on water intake by blocking pipes. They will attach to any hard surface in the waters in which they occur, quickly spreading and covering the surface. Preferred surfaces include stone, wood, concrete, iron/steel, aluminium, plastics and fiberglass. As a result, boats and water treatment plants can be damaged.
The Murray-Darling river basin is a good example of the types of problems that many countries will face with water resources and water management in the future with the onset of changing climate. The area is Australia’s bread basket producing 40 per cent of the country’s agricultural output. It is an area the size of Spain and France together. The country is hugely reliant on the area for food production – all of the water resources have long been intensively managed with dams and resevoirs which has degraded the natural ecosystems around there, in particular important wetlands that are not longer properly flushed out which has lead to a build-up of toxins.
The area has seen a big change in weather patterns in the past few decades : Most significantly there has been a change in precipitation patterns – there has been a massive drought for the past 7 years. There has also been an increase in temp in the region of .75 degrees This has seen surface flow on the Murray-Darling river basin decrease by as much as 40 per cent
The result of this change in weather has had massive consequences for agriculture with rice, cotton, citrus and dairy farms going bust. The Government has stipulated that they can only draw down 16 % of their allocated water quota in the last few years which has seen them collapse. It is family farms that have been worst effected. It came to international attention last year when the area, which once produced 1 million tonnes of rice could only produce 16,000 tonnes which lead to rise in prices of rise across SE Asia and food riots in some countries as a result. There have been massive restrictions on water usage in urban areas such as Adelaide the rely on the Murray river. For example nobody can water their garden and all shower water has to be collected and reused for other purposes.
These are two quotations from National Geographic on the Murray-Darling situation – How Australia manages this water crisis and changes it’s water usage patterns/water management in a changing climate will be an example to the rest of the world who are going to faced with the same problems.
Virtual water has major impacts on global trade policy and research, especially in water-scarce regions, and has redefined discourse in water policy and management. By explaining how and why nations such as the US, Argentina and Brazil 'export' billions of litres of water each year, while others like Japan, Egypt and Italy 'import' billions, the virtual water concept has opened the door to more productive water use.
If you multiply a cubic meter by 1,000 you get litres.
Water in your school</li></li></ul><li>Ireland’s Water – Availability <br />Nationally <br />Highest rates of rainfall in Europe<br />Enough water to meet our/environment’s needs <br />FOR NOW<br />Regionally <br />Variations in climate East and West <br />Greater population density in the East – greater demand<br />Some areas experience water shortages in warmer weather <br />
Ireland’s Water – Rainfall Distribution<br /> Rainfall in Ireland is higher in the West than in the East <br />Eastern Ireland <br />750 mm – 1000 mm per/yr<br />Western Ireland <br />1000mm – 1250 mm per/yr up<br />to 1500mm in coastal areas <br />
Ireland’s Water – The Future <br />High temp levels/ sunshine rates impact water supply <br />Increased evaporation reduces water in rivers/lakes <br />Climate change to alter distribution of rainfall <br />Drier Summers and wetter Winters – in the East<br />More water shortages/flooding<br />
Ireland’s Water – Water Quality<br />Declining Water Quality <br />Population Growth<br />Intensive Agriculture<br />Growth of Urban Centres<br />Rural Development <br />
Ireland’sWater – Water Quality <br />Eutrophication<br />Caused by run-off of <br />fertilisers, sewage, slurry <br />“Probably Ireland’s most<br />serious pollution problem”<br />.... EPA <br />Leads to fish kills <br />
Ireland’s Water – Water Quality<br />Ground- Water Pollution<br />Contamination by<br /> pathogens <br />Spreading animal waste<br />Failing septic tanks <br />Spread of Invasive species <br />Zebra Mussel/Chinese Mitten Crab <br />
Water – The Global Picture <br />Less than 1% of the world’s supply of water is suitable for drinking<br />Increasing challenges to people, livelihoods and ecosystems, due to pollution, climate change, over population and mismanagement<br />The world's population in 2008, at over 6.6 billion, is growing by about 80 million people each year <br />1.1 billion people in the world do not have access to clean drinking water <br />
Water Shortages – Australia <br />Murray-Darling River Basin <br />One-million sq/kms<br />Basin holds two-thirds of country’s irrigated lands<br />Rice paddies, cotton fields, vineyards, wheat praries, cattle pastures<br />Australia’s ‘bread-basket’<br />40 % of the country’s agricultural output <br />Valued at $ 10 billion/yr <br />
Water Shortages – Australia <br />Climate Change <br />Temp increase of .75 degree C over past 15 years<br />A 7 year drought in the river basin district <br />Surface flows cut by 40 per cent <br />
Water Shortages – Australia <br />Rice, cotton, citrus, dairy farms – collapsing<br />One million tonnes rice – down to 18,000 tonnes<br />Severe water restrictions in urban areas <br />Poisioning of wetlands <br />High salinity levels of water used for irrigation<br />
Water Shortages – Australia <br />“Adelaide may have the dubious distinction of being the first industrialized city to live in a constant state of water shortage” <br />(Nat Geo, 2009)<br />“It’s up to Australia to show the rest of the world what the new landscape will be – one that’s come to terms with limitations” <br />(Nat Geo, 2009) <br />
Water Usage – Virtual Water <br />Virtual Water – The amount of water embedded<br />in food or other products needed for its<br />production <br />Varies according to diet - high meat consumption vs vegetarian <br />Moderating our diets in the developed world could make much water available for other purposes<br /> <br /> <br />
What is the virtual water content of these products? <br />1 cup of coffee = 140 litres of water<br />1 kg of beef = 16,000 litres of water<br />1 kg of rice = 3,000 litres of water <br />
Water Usage<br />Australia, one of the driest countries, is among the top three exporters of virtual water on the planet. Rice, cotton, sugar – the most water-thirsty crops – account for 1/3 of water use. <br />Australia’s rivers are drying out so that Australia can export rice to China <br />
Water Usage – Water Footprint <br />Water footprint is a measure of the volume of water used by an individual, a school, or a community, both direct and indirect <br />At the National level the water footprint is domestic water use <br />+ virtual water imports<br />- virtual water exports <br />
Water Usage – Water Footprint <br />The water footprint of China is about 775 cubic meter per year per capita. Only about 3% of the Chinese water footprint falls outside China. <br />The USA water footprint is 2600 cubic meter per year per capita. <br />Japan with a footprint of 1100 cubic meter per year per capita, has about 60% of its total water footprint outside the borders of the country. <br />
Water cycle in the Classroom <br />Some interactive tools: <br />http://www.epa.gov/OGWDW/kids/flash/flash_watercycle.html<br />http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/earthguide/diagrams/watercycle/<br />http://www.water.wa.gov.au/Tools/The+Water+Cycle/Interactive+Water+Cycle/default.aspx<br />
Water cycle in the Classroom <br />Make your own water cycle poster from velcro/cardboard <br />Have pupils take turns to stick on the words for processes in the cycle <br />
How much water do we use? <br />The average Irish person uses about 148 litres of water per day <br />
Water saving in school <br />How to start? Water Audit <br />Carry out a review checklist of water use/policy<br />Count/Map water outlets in school – number of sinks,<br /> toilets, any water-consuming appliances, outdoor taps<br />Measure and record amount of water uses by each outlet <br /> - Measure volume of toilet cisterns<br /> - Measure flow from taps in litres per min<br /> - Measure water volume per average use ie. handwashing<br /> - Record no. of toilet flushes per day <br /> - Record the no. of uses of sinks per day <br /> - Record any leaks/drips <br />
Water saving in school <br />Locate and read the school’s water meter <br />Irish meter readings are in cubic meters (x 1000 for litres) <br />Record the water usage on a daily/weekly basis and plot on a graph <br />Reading the meter when there is no water usage indicates a leak <br />
Some water saving tips for school <br />No Cost<br />Run a water conservation awareness campaign<br />Report leaks/drip to Local Authority <br />Don’t leave taps running <br />Take quick showers (5 minute shower campaign) <br />Monitor and record regularly and investigate any unexplained water usage <br />Review all activities where water is used to identify water saving opportunities ie Gardening,<br />cleaning ect… <br />Low Cost <br />Hippos/Water saving buttons for toilets<br />Repair leaking taps <br />Insert a water butt for watering plants <br />High Cost<br />Fit push taps <br />Fit spray taps <br />Replace inefficient older fittings with modern water efficient ones<br />Install push operated water timers on showers <br />
Water saving in school – case study<br />Kilnadeema N.S, Loughrea Co. Galway <br />Record water usage using meter - 40,000 litres per week <br />Underground leak discovered – meter active on the weekends <br />Leak detected and repaired <br />250 ml sand filled bottles placed in cisterns - ¼ litres saved per flush<br />60 litres of water per day/11,000 litres per year saved on toilet flushing <br />Awareness campaign – turn off taps, use sink stoppers <br />80% reduction in water use – 40,000 litres to 8,000 litres per week <br />
Water saving in school – case study <br />Aglish N.S, West Waterford <br />Rocks in the cisterns to reduce the volume of water used in each flush<br />Rocks saved 150 ml per flush<br />13.5 litres of water per day, 67.5 litres per week, 2,430 litres per year saved on toilet flushing <br />Every pupil turns taps off and keeps an eye on any leaks<br />Harvests rainwater for watering plants and flowers<br />Kettle filled up with the amount of water that will be used<br />Cartons, paintbrushes, etc. washed in a plugged sink to avoid constant running <br />
Water Usage – Water Footprint<br />http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/629/629/5086298.stm<br />http://www.waterfootprint.org/?page=cal/waterfoot<br />printcalculator_indv_ext<br />