Pathways - EPA STRIVE Project

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The Pathways project is an EPA STRIVE funded project ( 2007-W-CD-1-S1 ) led by Queen’s University and partnered by Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin. The Pathways project commenced in August 2008 and will run over 5 years. Pathways aims to assess , model and provide a catchment management tool (CMT) for water and contaminant movement along pathways (underground and over-ground) from the land surface to aquatic receptors for use by River Basin District (RBD) Managers.

The Pathways project is part of a suite of research and monitoring activities that aim to address the challenge of developing a better understanding of hydrological processes and water-borne contaminant transport/attenuation. Many have been initiated by the Irish EPA, in collaboration with governmental and non-governmental institutions over the past 20 years to address knowledge gaps concerning hydrological and hydrogeological processes operating in Irish catchments and to better understand the impact of economic activity on the environment (http://www.epa.ie).

This research programme will integrate recent scientific findings with existing chemical and physical data to better understand how hydrological processes operate and how they impact on the fate and transport of potential pollutants occurring in River Basin Districts. Investigations will be completed by a consortium of specialized researchers, who will pool their expertise to provide an integrated overview of the state of the art in issues relevant to the overall aim of the project and to identify deficiencies in available datasets.

An initial review will provide the basis for implementing and completing further multidisciplinary investigations to provide necessary data to improve the current knowledge of pollutant transport and attenuation in Irish RBDs. The resulting composite data set will be employed to refine existing numerical models, which in turn will act as the basis for the development of catchment management tools (CMTs) and associated technical decision support systems. These later deliverables will assist managers in selecting appropriate measures to ensure that RBDs attain good qualitative and quantitative status by 2015, when the WFD will be fully implemented.