Stop and think about the water you drink – use pesticides responsibly

Tuesday, 13 May, 2014

The Water Catchment Partnership (WCP) is calling on everyone to take care when using and disposing of chemicals and pesticides to help improve water quality.

Almost 50% of spills occur when filling or washing out a sprayer or container. A single drop of pesticide entering a river can cause problems up to 18 miles downstream. Pesticides are commonly used in the garden or farm and include herbicides, weed killers, fungicides and insecticides. 

Everyone has an interest in having the highest possible quality drinking water and there are simple things that we can all do to help with this. To find out more have a chat with representatives from the WCP who will be at this year’s Balmoral Show from the 14 – 16 May (at the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) stand). They will be on hand to raise awareness and provide best practice guidance on grassland pesticide use. Members of the Partnership have also been attending and hosting a number of events and conducting a series of engagement visits in the Derg catchment area over the past year and hope to repeat these activities again this year. 

A leaflet focussing on grassland weed control and protecting the water environment has also been published.  Copies of the Grassland weed control – A best practice guide to controlling weeds and protecting the environment – can be obtained from Ulster Farmers Union (UFU) Offices, Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), Northern Ireland Water (NIW), College of Agriculture, Food & Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) or can be downloaded from the VI website: Voluntary Initiative

Comprehensive advice on all aspects of using pesticides is contained in the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) Code of Practice for Plant Protection Products. This Code explains how to use plant protection products safely and so meet the legal conditions which cover their use. A summary A3 wall chart has also been produced to accompany the Code and provides users with a quick reference guide. Both documents can be downloaded from DARD’s website: or obtained from DARD by phoning 028 90524544.

Notes to editors:

1.    The Water Catchment Partnership was established in 2013 to help address significant water quality issues in Northern Ireland.  Their aim is to proactively work together to promote and raise awareness of best practice when using pesticides in the garden or on the farm, through a voluntary approach to improve water quality.  Pesticides include herbicides, weed killers, fungicides and insecticides. Their initial focus is in the Derg catchment and if the project is successful the scheme will be rolled out to other drinking water catchments. 
2.    The Water Catchment partnership is a working partnership established from representatives from Ulster Farmers Union, Northern Ireland Water, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise and the Voluntary Initiative. Their aim is to deliver one message incorporating the ethos from all organisations to effectively tackle the problem of pesticides in the water environment particularly in Drinking Water areas.