Recovery targets and timescales for Lough Neagh and other lakes

Brian Rippey, Yvonne McElarney, James Thompson, Michelle Allen, Mary Gallagher, Richard Douglas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The framework, model and methods of Nürnberg were applied and evaluated in Lough Neagh and 19 other lakes in order to establish inflow phosphorus concentrations that support target lake values. Supporting concentrations, in the absence of an internal load, were derived and the effect of uncertainty in the model retention coefficient was relatively small, ±11-20 % in Lough Neagh and an average (n = 17) of ±9.7 % in the other lakes. There was further support for the model and methods from an independent estimate of the net internal load in Lough Neagh (13 % difference) and from another model in the other lakes (Supporting concentrations, which should be lower, were by an average of 11 mg P m ). In the framework, steady state with the phosphorus load is assumed, but, based on a generic lake model, is not likely if the hydraulic residence time>0.5-0.8 yr and should lead to a decrease in phosphorus retention, which was found during three periods in Lough Neagh. Based on a compilation of internal load recovery times from 23 lakes in the literature, it could take between 8 and 20 years for lakes with an internal load to approach their targets. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2022. Published by Elsevier Ltd.]
Original languageEnglish
Article number118858
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalWater Research
Early online date12 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2022


  • Internal load
  • Inflow concentration
  • Non-steady state
  • Models
  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus


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