The Irish actionlab comprises two rural catchments (ca. 10 km2) in County Wexford (SE Ireland) with intensively farmed land typical for the region; one catchment dominated by arable land and the other by grassland for beef and dairy production.
There is small-scale abstraction of shallow groundwater used for human consumption and to supply individual farming activities. Additionally, a small number of households have water supply from common wells.
One catchment is largely groundwater fed and risky for leaching to groundwater while the other one with poorly drained grassland has a flashy hydrology and is sensitive to surface runoff.
The catchments are part of the Irish Agricultural Catchments program (ACP) where collaboration with farmers has been established in the two catchments in order to evaluate both the environmental and economic effects of current measures implemented under the Nitrates Directive.
Ireland has ambitious growth targets in increasing food productivity by 2020 (FoodHarvest2020) and the value of agri-food exports by 2025 (Food Wise 2025) while simultaneously meeting environmental objectives according to “Smart, Green, Growth”. To achieve those goals we need to produce and transfer knowledge enabling farmers to maintain growth outputs in a sustainable way.