Peatland plays a significant role as a water/carbon store and as a habitat. The island of Ireland has one of the highest concentrations of peatbog of any country worldwide, with 20% wetland coverage. In fact, approximately 68% of the island of Ireland’s drinking water comes from peatland, whilst up to 75% of its soil carbon is in the form of peat.
A key focus for the Source to Tap project was to investigate techniques for restoring formerly afforested peatland, which could be used to benefit drinking water quality in source drinking water catchments. Water from healthy, intact peat bogs requires less treatment, as it is well filtered by the Sphagnum moss. But when the bog is damaged, more carbon seeps into the water, colouring it and requiring costly treatment processes.
Greater quantities of sediment in our rivers and lakes also have an impact on freshwater habitats and water-dependant species.