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Eutrophication of Tamar Lakes (1975-2003): a case study of land-use impacts, potential solutions and fundamental issues for the Water Framework Directive

Eutrophication of Tamar Lakes (1975-2003): a case study of land-use impacts, potential solutions and fundamental issues for the Water Framework Directive

Water and Environment Journal 20(3): 159-168

Tamar Lakes is comprised of two reservoirs, which are located in South West England and in the headwaters of River Tamar at approximately 135 m above ordnance datum. Upper Tamar Lake (UTL) is a direct feed source reservoir of potable water in North Cornwall. Immediately following completion in 1975, UTL was subject to intense blue-green algal blooms that continue to the present. These blooms create operational problems for water treatment, especially in hot-dry years. Lower Tamar Lake (LTL) was constructed as a water supply reservoir in 1819 and became obsolete following UTL coming on-line. Detailed water quality investigations over a period of some 28 years have confirmed the source of nutrient enrichment that fuels the algal blooms to be agriculturally derived, corresponding with a substantial increase in livestock farming. Associated poor land management practices, such as extensive field drainage and inappropriate slurry disposal to land, are linked with substantial elevations in organic contaminants such as ammonia, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and suspended solids (SS) during rainfall events. Evidence demonstrates that both reservoirs act as primary treatment lagoons, substantially reducing the worst of these pollutants and providing significant environmental gain. The implications of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and regulatory monitoring are discussed in relation to resource management.

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Accession: 012786849

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DOI: 10.1111/j.1747-6593.2006.00034.x

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