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The Water Framework Directive (Classification, Priority Substances and Shellfish Waters) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015

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1.—(1) The Department must determine the quantitative status of a body of groundwater as follows—N.I.

(a)by determining whether or not one or more of the indicators in Column 1 of Table 1 are applicable to the body of groundwater; and

(b)if any of those indicators are applicable, by carrying out appropriate investigations to determine whether or not the criteria in Column 2 of Table 1 corresponding to the applicable indicator or indicators for poor quantitative status are satisfied.

(2) The body of groundwater must be classified as—

(a)“good groundwater quantitative status” where—

(i)none of the indicators set out in Column 1 of Table 1 are applicable, or

(ii)one or more of those indicators are applicable but none of the corresponding criteria for poor groundwater status set out in Column 2 of Table 1 are satisfied; and

(b)in any other case as “poor groundwater quantitative status”.

Table 1

Risk indicators and classification criteria for groundwater quantitative status

Column 1Column 2

Saline or other intrusions into a groundwater body:

a) Failure of a threshold value i.e. electrical conductivity for groundwater as derived in accordance with the Groundwater Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009; or

b) Other indications of intrusions of poor quality water into the body of groundwater

(Note: “intrusion” is interpreted to be intrusion of poor quality water into a groundwater body from another water body, rather than the movement of a plume of poor quality water within the body).

i) Significant and sustained upward trend in electrical conductivity indicating saline intrusion;

ii) Significant and sustained upward trend in the concentration of other indicators of intrusion;

iii) Existing evidence that a point of abstraction has been rendered unsuitable for use without prior treatment as a result of an intrusion.

Surface water:

a) Flow conditions in an associated surface water body are unsatisfactory, and there is reason to suspect that groundwater abstraction impacts (on the surface water body) are a significant component of the failure to achieve flow standards.

(Note: Flow conditions are considered unsatisfactory if they are failing to meet the appropriate WFD flow standards and in doing so, preventing the surface water body maintaining of achieving its target status class).

i) Flow conditions are preventing the surface water body maintaining or achieving the target status class and the reduction in river flow in the surface water body concerned (resulting solely from groundwater abstraction) represents ≥50% of the value of the allowable abstraction (based on the flow standards).

Groundwater Dependant Terrestrial Ecosystems (GWDTE):

a) Indications of damage to a GWDTE caused by insufficient water availability identified through the departure from predefined environmental supporting conditions, including flow and groundwater level (or chemistry) which are required to maintain dependent communities in a favourable state.

i) A significant proportion of the departure from the predefined environmental supporting conditions can be attributed to anthropogenic quantitative pressures in the groundwater body, affecting groundwater availability to the GWDTE.

Water balance:

a) Indications that the total annual volume of groundwater being abstracted from the groundwater body exceeds the long term annual average rate of recharge to the groundwater body (taking in to account an allowance where relevant for dependent ecosystems).

i) The annual average volume of groundwater abstracted from the groundwater body represents more than the long-term annual average rate of recharge to the groundwater body and there are sustained trends of long term falling groundwater levels within the groundwater body.

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