Representatives from Lough Neagh Partnership attended an international conference with nine partners to consider Oligotrophic and ultra-oligotrophic waterbodies and their sensitivity to pollution.
Joining Lough Neagh Partnership representatives at the conference were lead partner in the European collaborative project, Savonia University of Applied Sciences (Finland), and partners from Sweden, Iceland and Faroe Islands.
The conference, which was hosted by Agricultural University of Iceland, is part of an innovative EU funded project called WaterPro which aims to develop sustainable systems to protect water quality from agricultural and mining pollution.
The project partners attended a seminar to hear a range of presentations from loss of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) from agricultural soils in Iceland to recent water quality deterioration in Finnish lakes, finding the root cause in a changing climate as well as good practice guidelines for agriculture and their implementation.
The seminar also looked at measurements of runoff and nutrient losses and integrated bio-solutions for treatment of Landfill Leachate.
Conor Jordan, Chairperson of Lough Neagh Partnership, commented: “WaterPro is a fantastic opportunity for partner organisations to collaborate and share knowledge on a range of practical water quality improvement projects. The application of proven methods to improve water quality can have a real positive impact on our waterways.”
Chris Johnston, Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Belfast, stated: “Collaborating with agricultural and water quality researchers from other EU member states helps develop ideas and joined up approaches. WaterPro is an excellent opportunity to focus ideas and technologies to our own set of circumstances.”
Following the seminar, the project partners were taken to the region of Borgarfjörður in West Iceland, where they visited two dairy farms, one sheep farm and a horticultural station growing cucumbers. There they saw practical examples of how new technology can be used in the housing of animals and the management of slurry and potential run off.
Icelandic farmers provided advice on how slurry was stored through the winter and the particular difficulties in operating in such a cold environment and informed the visiting party on Icelandic regulations on storing and managing the animal waste product. It was particularly fascinating to see the use of geothermal technology, particularly in heating winter cattle sheds and in heating greenhouses for the horticulture industry.
The next WaterPro seminar will take place in the Faroe Islands in May 2018.