An online survey on the use and protection of groundwater has been launched by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).
Aimed at farmers and the agri-food sector, NIEA hopes to learn more about the level of awareness and understanding of the function and quality of groundwater.
“Groundwater can be found beneath most parts of Northern Ireland and forms an integral part of the water cycle.
“It is an important natural source of water for our rural community and is used extensively in the farming and agri-food industries as well as being a popular source of drinking water in rural areas,” explained NIEA Chief Executive David Small, pictured.
“However, it is also through the activities of these industries that groundwater may be contaminated. Fertilisers and pesticides may cause possible contaminants or pollutants to leach into water deposits on the land and harm drinking water supplies.
“So we are asking the agri-food sector and farming community about their use of groundwater resources and whether they feel enough is being done to protect groundwater and its quality for their continued use,” he added.
The survey will be used to inform a study at Queen’s University of Belfast into the relationship between groundwater awareness and protection of this important natural resource.
This work will also help to inform the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs on its future groundwater protection strategies.
The survey, which is anonymous, closes at midnight on Friday 15 December 2017. You can complete the survey here: https://consultations.nidirect.gov.uk/daera-environment-marine-fisheries/groundwater-awareness-survey.