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The Water Framework directive will be implemented in a unique way; the European Commission and the Member States established a Common Implementation Strategy (CIS) for the Water Framework Directive. Many challenges and difficulties that occur during implementation will be common to all Member States. Besides many of the European river basins are shared, crossing administrative and territorial borders. A Common Strategy could limit the risks of bad application of the Directive and subsequent dispute.  
 
The Water Framework directive will be implemented in a unique way; the European Commission and the Member States established a Common Implementation Strategy (CIS) for the Water Framework Directive. Many challenges and difficulties that occur during implementation will be common to all Member States. Besides many of the European river basins are shared, crossing administrative and territorial borders. A Common Strategy could limit the risks of bad application of the Directive and subsequent dispute.  
 
The CIS will develop guidance documents and other supporting technical and scientific documents to assist in the practical implementation of the Directive.  
 
The CIS will develop guidance documents and other supporting technical and scientific documents to assist in the practical implementation of the Directive.  
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====Response of WFD to Climate Change====
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Given the current and anticipated impacts of climate change, water, water basins and coastal regions will be very affected by climate change. The breadth of the Water Framework Directive suggests that existing regulations will be sufficient to respond to climate change.
 +
 +
The directive establishes a framework for the protection of inland surface waters, transitional waters, coastal waters and groundwater, seeking to protect ecosystems, reduce pollution and promote sustainable water use. This is relevant for adaptation to climate change and sea-level rise due to the purpose of the directive to contribute to mitigating the effects of floods and droughts (Article 1, L 327/5), and that the directive introduces an interesting management tool in assigning river basin districts as prime unit for the management of river basins (Article 3/1). The directive also supports public participation.
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A river basin district is defined as the area of land and sea, made up of one or more neighbouring river basins together with their associated groundwaters and coastal waters (Article 2, paragraph 15). River basin management plans are destined to be important tools for implementing the directive, and are required to include a summary of significant pressures and impact of human activity on the status of surface water and groundwater. This also requires planning for measures to be taken under exceptional circumstances. The directive also facilitates risk management at the scale of water basins.
  
 
==External links==
 
==External links==

Versie van 25 mei 2007 om 12:50

Water Framework Directive (WFD)

In response to the fragmented character of the current water policy the European Union established a framework for Community action in the field of water policy, commonly referred to as the Water Framework Directive [1]. The directive entered into force on 22 december 2000. All pre-2004 Member States of the European Union are contracting parties to the Directive.

The central aim is to achieve a ‘Good Ecological Status’ and a Good Chemical Status’ by 2015.

Purposes

The purpose of this Directive is to establish a framework for the protection of inland surface waters, transitional waters, coastal waters and groundwater which:

  • Prevents further deterioration and protects and enhances the status of aquatic ecosystems and, with regard to their water needs, terrestrial ecosystems and wetlands directly depending on the aquatic ecosystems;
  • Promotes sustainable water use based on a long-term protection of available water resources;
  • Aims at enhanced protection and improvement of the aquatic environment, inter alia, through specific measures for the progressive reduction of discharges, emissions and losses of priority substances and the cessation or phasing-out of discharges, emissions and losses of the

priority hazardous substances;

  • Ensures the progressive reduction of pollution of groundwater and prevents its further pollution, and
  • Contributes to mitigating the effects of floods and droughts

Timepath

The WFD obliges the Member states to adhere to a strictly time schedule. There are several deadlines for implementing the WFD (see Table 1). After the directive has been translated into national legislation (art. 23) River Basin Districts and responsible authorities have to be identified (art. 3). Then steps are taken to set up a River Basin Management Plan, including a programme of measures for each river basin district. By performing the programme of measures the authorities expect to reach the objectives by 2015. Monitoring will be done to check the effectiveness of the measures. If necessary extra time can be given to take additional measures in order to reach the objectives at the latest in 2027.


Table 1 Deadline associated with the Water Framework Directive
Deadline Article Task
2000 25 Directive entered into force
2003 23 Transposition in national legislation
2003 3 Identification of River Basin Districts and Authorities
2004 5 Characterisation of river basin: pressures, impacts and economic analysis
2006 8 Establishment of monitoring network
2006 14 Start public consultation (at the latest)
2008 13 Present draft River Basin Management Plan
2009 13 & 11 Finalise draft River Basin Management Plan including programme of measures
2010 9 Introduce pricing policies
2012 11 Make operational programmes of measures
2015 4 Meet environmental objectives
2021 4 & 13 First management cycle ends
2027 4 & 13 Second management cycle ends, final deadline for meeting objectives


Systematics of the WFD

The range of application of the WFD is not restricted to the fresh water, but covers also the coastal and transitional waters. In coastal areas, the WFD is in force up to one nautical mile from the territorial baseline of a Member State for a Good Ecological Status and up to 12 nautical miles for a Good Chemical Status.

To facilitate the assessment of the ecological and chemical status of the water bodies, the objectives have to be quantified. For this purpose different systematics are used for the ecological and chemical status.


Ecological status

For the ecological status, no absolute standards are set for the whole community, because of the ecological variability. For every watertype national classification schemes for the quality elements, phytoplankton, macrofytes, macrofauna and fish are set. The WFD classification scheme includes five status categories:

  • high,
  • good,
  • moderate,
  • poor and
  • bad.

In combination with the biological quality elements, supporting hydro-morphological and physico-chemical elements have to be involved in the classification process. ‘High status’ is defined as the biological, chemical and morphological conditions associated with no or very low human pressure. This is also called the ‘reference condition’. Assessment of quality is based on the extent of deviation from these reference conditions. ‘Good status’ means ‘slight’ deviation, ‘moderate status’ means ‘moderate’ deviation, and so on. The WFD requires a `one out - all out' approach for classification; the status of a site should be determined by the lowest value of the quality elements used.

Under certain conditions the WFD permits Member States to identify and designate Artificial Waterbodies (AWB) and Heavily Modified Water Bodies (HMWB), where they have been physically altered so that they are “substantially changed in character” or "created by human activity" respectively. Instead of "good ecological status", the environmental objective for HMWB and for AWB is good ecological potential (GEP), which has to be achieved by 2015.

The National classification schemes of the Member states have to be harmonized in European Union context. The purpose of the intercalibration is not to harmonise the assessment systems, but only their results. The descriptions of the reference situations and the classification schemes may differ, but the outcome of the different schemes have to be comparable. The intercalibration will aim on the “high-good” and the “good-moderate” boundaries. The difference between the qualifications good and moderate is very essential in the WFD, because it decides if measures are required or not.


Chemical Status

The chemical status of the water is tested by means of a list of over thirty priority substances (prioritised by the European Commission). The environmental quality standards for these priority substances are described in a daughter directive published in 2006. The Ecological Quality Standards (EQS) are differentiated for inland surface waters (rivers and lakes) and other surface waters (transitional, coastal and territorial waters). Two types of EQS are set; Annual average concentrations and maximum allowable concentrations, for protection against long-term and for short-term, direct and acute ecotoxic effects, respectively.

The daughter directive COM(2006)-397 is applicable tho three groups of substances:

  1. 33 priority substances for which EQS were set;
  2. Among the priority substances, 2 substances have been identified as priority hazardous substances which are subject to phase-out or cessation of emissions, discharges and losses;
  3. 8 substances which are not included in the list of priority substances but for which earlier established common standards proved to be useful (a.o. pesticides)


River Basin Management plan

The river basin district is the scale of planning foreseen in the Directive. All member states had to complete, by the end of 2004, a detailed analysis of the characteristics of their river basin districts, including a review of the pressures and impacts of the human activity on surface and groundwater. In addition an economic analysis of the use of water is required to enable a rational discussion on cost-effectiveness of the possible measures. The analysis forms the point of departure for the River Basin Management Plan. In the plan is described in detail how the objectives set for the river basin are to be reached within the timescale required. Elements that are described in the plan are:

  • The characteristics of the river basin;
  • A review of the human impact on the status of waters in the basin;
  • An estimation of the effect of existing measures and the remaining "gap" to meet the objectives;
  • A list of additional measures designed to meet the objectives.

The analysis of human impact is conducted so as to determine how far from the objective each body of water is. Then the effect of full implementation of the existing legislation on the problems of each body of water is considered. Examples of existing legislation are the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive and the Nitrates Directive, which together tackle the problem of eutrophication (as well as health effects such as microbial pollution in bathing water areas and nitrates in drinking water); and the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive, which deals with chemical pollution. If through full implementation of the existing legislation the objective of the framework Directive is not attained, the Member State must identify exactly why, and design whatever additional measures are needed to satisfy all the objectives established.


Monitoring

As part of a River Basin Management Plan, a monitoring network has to be established by end of 2006.

Three types of monitoring for surface waters are described:

  1. Surveillance monitoring
  2. Operational monitoring
  3. Investigative monitoring.

The objective of monitoring is to establish a coherent and comprehensive overview of water status within each River Basins District and must permit the classification of all surface water bodies into one of five classes. To ensure that a reliable assessment of the status of all water bodies can be achieved, it is important that the right parameters are choosen and that the parameters are measured in the right location with the right frequency and with the most appropriate method. The member states are allowed to adjust their monitoring program to the condition and variability within their own waters.


Joint Implementation Strategy

The Water Framework directive will be implemented in a unique way; the European Commission and the Member States established a Common Implementation Strategy (CIS) for the Water Framework Directive. Many challenges and difficulties that occur during implementation will be common to all Member States. Besides many of the European river basins are shared, crossing administrative and territorial borders. A Common Strategy could limit the risks of bad application of the Directive and subsequent dispute. The CIS will develop guidance documents and other supporting technical and scientific documents to assist in the practical implementation of the Directive.


Response of WFD to Climate Change

Given the current and anticipated impacts of climate change, water, water basins and coastal regions will be very affected by climate change. The breadth of the Water Framework Directive suggests that existing regulations will be sufficient to respond to climate change.

The directive establishes a framework for the protection of inland surface waters, transitional waters, coastal waters and groundwater, seeking to protect ecosystems, reduce pollution and promote sustainable water use. This is relevant for adaptation to climate change and sea-level rise due to the purpose of the directive to contribute to mitigating the effects of floods and droughts (Article 1, L 327/5), and that the directive introduces an interesting management tool in assigning river basin districts as prime unit for the management of river basins (Article 3/1). The directive also supports public participation.

A river basin district is defined as the area of land and sea, made up of one or more neighbouring river basins together with their associated groundwaters and coastal waters (Article 2, paragraph 15). River basin management plans are destined to be important tools for implementing the directive, and are required to include a summary of significant pressures and impact of human activity on the status of surface water and groundwater. This also requires planning for measures to be taken under exceptional circumstances. The directive also facilitates risk management at the scale of water basins.

External links

original text directive

text daughter directive priority substances

intercalibration WFD

Links to the official WFD web sites of the Member States

References

Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council; establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy, Brussels, 23-10-2000.

P. de Graaf , H. Marencic, D. Burdon , I. Simoens & H. Knaack. Water Framework Directive in North Sea coastal areas and estuaries; HARBASINS Phase 1: Legislation and Administration.RWS Leeuwarden 2006.


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