22-27 September 2019
Trade Fairs and Congress Center (FYCMA)
Europe/Madrid timezone

Developing a real-time monitoring network of groundwater dependent karst wetlands in Ireland

24 Sep 2019, 16:00
Trade Fairs and Congress Center (FYCMA)

Trade Fairs and Congress Center (FYCMA)

Av. de José Ortega y Gasset, 201 29006 Malaga, Spain
Poster Topic 6 - Groundwater, wetlands and natural heritage Poster with refreshments


Dr Owen Naughton (Department of Built Environment, Carlow Institute of Technology, )


Turloughs, a form of ephemeral groundwater-dependent wetland, are a defining feature of the limestone lowlands of Ireland. As a protected habitat under both the EU Water Framework and Habitats Directives, there is a requirement to maintain and enhance the conservation status of turloughs and to protect them from ecological degradation. However in order to achieve this we must understand the environmental processes that support turlough habitats in favourable condition. Key to this is adequate monitoring of the ephemeral groundwater flooding which defines the turlough habitat. However, a lack of appropriate monitoring infrastructure has been highlighted as a major impediment to effective habitat management. In response, Geological Survey Ireland have established a telemetric turlough monitoring network. The nature of groundwater flooding poses significant technical challenges to real-time monitoring installations; sites can be completely dry during summer months while during winter floodwaters can extend to hundreds of hectares. An exploratory network of over 50 sites were instrumented during an 18 month period to provide baseline data for the telemetric site selection process. Multi-criteria analysis was then applied to the design of the telemetric network; factors considered included hydrological regime, historic data availability, flood receptor density, ecological value and geographical representativeness. Selected sites have been instrumented with telemetric systems allowing real-time acquisition of groundwater flood data. The network is for the first time providing long-term observational data of these groundwater dependent wetlands, and in doing so taking an essential step towards their sustainable management and tackling the challenges posed by climate and global change.

Primary author

Dr Owen Naughton (Department of Built Environment, Carlow Institute of Technology, )


Ted McCormack (Geological Survey Ireland) Ms Rebecca Bradford (Tobin Consulting Engineers) Dr Joan Campanya (Geological Survey Ireland)

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