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The EPA implements the surface water hydrometric programme for each local authority. These hydrological programmes are vital in order to provide information for the assessment, development and management of water resources and the water-related environment in relation to such things as:
In order to make these evaluations, flow records covering a considerable length of time must be available. Of increasing importance in recent years is the use of hydrometric data to estimate nutrient loadings as part of catchment monitoring and management studies involving river, lake and estuarine systems.
In the wider European context, information on river flows has a supporting role in the Water Framework Directive. Likewise, long term information on river flows is required to assess any effects of climate change.
The EPA also makes use of the data collected by the OPW which has gauges at strategic locations on rivers and lakes in relation to arterial drainage, navigation and flood relief and the ESB which operates hydrometric stations to assist in hydroelectric power generation and water level control in relation to dam safety.
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