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Lower Bann

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Lough Neagh - Water Quality

Background Information

The surface waters and groundwaters within Lough Neagh catchment are monitored by Environment and Heritage Service (EHS) for compliance with a number of exiting water quality related EC Directives.

EHS policy in the field of water quality is "to maintain or improve quality in surface waters and water in underground strata as required by national policy, EC Directives and international agreements, and to generally manage river, estuarine and coastal waters to be at least "Good" under the adopted classification schemes with no downward movement between classes."

The water quality of Lough Neagh can be divided into the following areas:

1. Euthrophication

2. Pollution

3. Bacteria Levels

4. Flotsam

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Lough Neagh - Water Quantity

Background Information

Lough Neagh drains approximately 38% of Northern Ireland,with the Lower Bann River being the sole outlet channel for the Lough. Past drainage schemes have lowered the Lough by an avearage of approximately 2 metres over the past 160 years (14.58m Ordnance Datum Belfast to 12.56mOD). The Lough is controlled using the sluice gates at Toome, and since 1959 the statutry target range has been between 12.45OD and 12.60OD. In winter months, during periods of high rainfall, especially when combined with snowmelt, water levels can rise above the statutory upper level because the inflow far exceeds the outflow capacitiy of the Lower Bann River. This water level is particulalry noticeable in the low-lying southern wetlands, but can also have an impact on the flood plains further up the Upper Bann and Blackwater Rivers. High water levels can impact on many different activties, particular agriculture and in some case recreational activity such as witnessed at the low lying land of Portadown Golf Club. Land liable to flood should be designated appropriately in Local Plans and only suitable 'development'/acitivities should be allowed to take place.

The water quantity of Lough Neagh can be divided into the following areas:

Water Levels

1. Agriculture and Navigation

2. Public and Private Water Supply

3. Abstraction Control

4. Ecosystem Integrity

5. Archaeological Conservation

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Church Island, Lough Beg Lower Bann
© Lough Neagh and Lower Bann Advisory Committees 2006 | Images © Lough Neagh & Lower Bann Advisory Committees Photo Library