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Plan to improve water quality published

11 July 2016

The Environment Minister has published a five-year Water Management Plan to improve Jersey’s water quality.

The draft water plan for Jersey sets out the steps the Island needs to take to ensure clean and sustainable water supplies. It builds on an assessment of the condition of Jersey’s water and the pressures on it.

The overall aim of the five year plan is to ensure better water and improve the quality of the island’s water resources (streams, ponds, reservoirs) from ‘moderate’ to ‘good’ status. The plan is linked to the States Strategic objective to improve health and wellbeing.

High levels of nitrates

The problems identified in the plan are longstanding and complex to resolve. These include high levels of nitrates, phosphates and pesticides in streams and groundwater. Solutions are focused on long term change, working with farmers and other land users in a newly formed ‘Action for Cleaner Water’ group.

The plan lists a number of short, medium and long term objectives with the eventual aim of:

  • ensuring all drinking water sources have a nitrate level of below 50 mg/L
  • achieving ‘good’ status’ for pesticides in all groundwaters which are relied on for drinking water supply
  • achieve ‘good’ status for phosphates in streams and ponds
  • establishing an effective monitoring programme
  • identifying and addressing current and emerging issues to ensure sustainable future for Island’s water environment.

Launching the water plan, the Minister for the Environment, Deputy Steve Luce, said “Water is a precious resource and we need to protect it. More than half of our countryside is intensively farmed and we have large areas of urban development. The Island also has one of the highest levels of nitrates in Europe.

“Recently, pollution by pesticides has shown how vulnerable our water resources are and that the problems can last for decades, so everyone has a responsibility to look after the water resources that we rely on.”

“We’re working alongside Jersey Water and farmers, who are behind this plan, to make significant changes to reduce nitrate and pesticide levels – with the force of law if necessary”.

Deputy Luce said “Maintaining a sufficient supply of clean water is already a challenge. We need to plan in order to assess, manage and improve our water resources effectively. This water plan provides the means to do this."

The Department of the Environment has assessed the different ways to help reduce nitrate, phosphorus, and pesticide pollution. The recommended solutions set out in the plan are evidence-based, follow best practice across Europe and are the best balance of costs and outcomes.

View the Water Management Plan 2017 - 2021

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