In protecting our water resources against nitrate pollution from agricultural sources, we focus on reducing the level of water pollution caused by agricultural activities and preventing further pollution. Related requirements are defined in Council Directive 91/676/EEC (Nitrates Directive). Our Institute has been entrusted by the Ministry of the Environment with the task of technically coordinating the implementation of the Nitrates Directive in Slovakia, in cooperation with the expert organisations concerned. When assessing nitrate pollution from agricultural sources, we rely on the results of water-quality monitoring and water-quality trend forecasting. We periodically reassess vulnerable zones where measures defined in the Fertilisers Act need to be implemented, and where good agricultural practice needs to be voluntarily exercised outside vulnerable zones.
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Water quality in agricultural areas. Our Institute regularly assesses the quality of groundwater and surface waters in view of the widespread use of agricultural fertilisers, as well as short-term changes and long-term trends in groundwater and surface-water pollution caused by nitrates and phosphorus compounds (in relation to surface-water eutrophication and soil erosion). Where the concentration of these pollutants is high, we strive to identify the causes and propose solutions that meet groundwater quality standards.

Our results – in water quality and agricultural impact assessment, and in delimiting vulnerable zones – are reported to the European Commission every four years (in reports on the implementation of Council Directive 91/676/EEC). Vulnerable zones are high-risk areas in
terms of groundwater and surface waters pollution caused by nitrates, which may be affected by pollution if the programmes developed for the prevention and abatement of nitrate pollution are not implemented. The delimitation of vulnerable zones is revised on a regular basis.

znecistenie vod polnohospodarskou cinnostou

Currently delimited vulnerable zones are included in the Slovak Government’s Regulation No 174/2017 Coll., delimiting the sensitive and vulnerable zones of Slovakia, as amended by Regulation No 62/2017 of 2 March 2022. Vulnerable zones are subject to special requirements and regulations that are drawn up with our participation.