The quality of water in Irish rivers is getting worse, according to an Environmental Protection Agency report.

Roughly half of the country's coastal waters, rivers and lakes have unacceptable levels of pollution.

The report found just 20 rivers have pristine conditions - down from more than 500 in the 1980's.

EPA Water Programme Manager, Mary Gurrie, says agriculture and urban wastewater are the main contributors to the problem.

The report names Ireland’s “worst of the worst” water courses, which included nine river sites, 10 lakes and six estuaries.

The Kilgolgan river in Galway is one of these, it’s said to be under pressure from urban waste-water pressures form Loughrea.

The Owenriff river in Co Galway is another of the nine, where run-off of phosphate fertiliser from forestry has been linked to poor ecological standards and had an impact on fish populations.

Both rivers have declined since the last assessment, the Kilgolgan river, which was previously moderate, and the Owenriff, which was previously deemed to be in good ecological condition.

Listed among the 10 “worst of the worst” lakes are : Lough Alewnaghta which straddles the borders of counties Clare and Galway; Ballyquirke Lough in Co Galway; Lough Rinn in Co Leitrim; and Templehouse in Co Sligo.




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