THE loss of Warren Strand’s Blue Flag status may have been due to climate change.
The Council’s environment director Louis Duffy told members of the Western Division that extreme weather events, caused by climate change, are having an impact on water quality.
He said events – such as torrential rain and run off – could potentially lead to some beaches losing their Blue Flag status. The director confirmed that The Warren is not eligible to apply for a Blue Flag this year due to the impact of heavy rain on water quality in 2021.
‘But it is hoped,’ he added, ‘that with good water quality being maintained in 2022, it will recover its excellent status.’
The director said it is not just run off from the land that could have an impact on water quality. There is, he said, a risk too of a discharge from wastewater treatment systems.
The Environment Protection Agency’s (EPA) annual bathing water quality report for 2021 showed Cork’s bathing waters exceeding the national average with 100% meeting or exceeding minimum required standards and 93% classified as excellent or good.
Mr Duffy said there was more good news for county beaches with the award of a record 26 flags by An Taisce at the 2022 National Beach Awards.
Those awarded Blue Flags include Barleycove, Fountainstown, Garretstown, Garrylucas, Inchydoney East Beach, Inchydoney West Beach, Owenahincha and Tragumna.
Those in receipt of Green Coast Flags include Ballyrisode, Cadogan’s Strand, Dooneen Pier, Fountainstown, Galley Cove, Garnish Beach-Lehanmore, Inch
Strand, Inchydoney East, Oysterhaven, Red Strand, Ring, Rocky Bay and Sherkin Island’s Silver Strand Beach.
‘Meeting the demanding criteria of these beach awards,’ said Mr Duffy, ‘represents significant investment in time and resources by not only the Council but also local community groups whose support is essential and appreciated.’
The 2022 bathing water season commenced on June 1st and water quality monitoring is ongoing.