6. Overall status, progress achieved and future challenges

Key messages                  

  • The second RBMPs provide a better understanding of the status and the pressures causing failure to achieve good status and the needed mitigation measures. Evidence has also improved through more and better monitoring of pollutants and quality elements.

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  • A higher proportion of water bodies are in good status (ecological, chemical and quantitative) in the second RBMPs than in the first RBMPs; however, there is also an increase in the proportion of surface water bodies failing to achieve good status, in part corresponding to a fall in the proportion whose status was unknown.

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  • Marked efforts have been made by Member States to improve water quality and hydromorphology. Some of the measures have immediate effect; others will result in improvement in the longer run. Results are usually visible at the level of individual quality elements or pollutants but often do not translate into an overall improved status.

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  • The analysis of the second RBMPs shows that there is progress in the status of single quality elements and single pollutants. In particular, ecological status has improved for many biological quality elements from the first to the second RBMPs.

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  • Without ubiquitous priority substances, in particular, mercury, only 4 % of surface water bodies failed to achieve good chemical status and only a few priority substances are responsible for poor chemical status in most Member States. Improvements in status for individual priority substances shows that Member States are making progress in tackling sources of contamination.

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  • Diffuse sources (62 %) and hydromorphological pressures (40 %) are the main significant pressures on surface water bodies, followed by point sources (21 %) and abstraction (7 %).

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  • Diffuse sources (41 %) and point sources (16 %) are the main pressures related to groundwater chemical status, while pressures from water abstraction (22 %) are the main cause of poor quantitative status.

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  • By now, many of the several thousand individual measures in the first RBMPs will have been completed and in the second RBMPs more measures are planned. <more text>

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6.1. Current status and overall progress since the first RBMPs

The results in the previous chapters show that with the second RBMPs the quantity and quality of available evidence has grown significantly. Many Member States and RBDs have invested in better or new ecological and chemical monitoring programs, with more monitoring sites, more quality elements assessed and more chemicals analysed. These improvements in monitoring and assessment mean that the status classification results are now a better interpretation of the general health of the water environment.

Groundwater status across Europe is generally better than surface waters (Figure 6.1). Good chemical and quantitative status was achieved for 70 % and 86 % of groundwater bodies. Around 40 % of surface water bodies have good ecological and 41 % good chemical status.

Compared to the first RBMPs, there are for all four measures of status[1] a higher proportion of water bodies in good status in the second RBMP. However, there are also for surface waters a higher proportion of water bodies in less than good status. Both the changes in proportion of good and less than good status is due to improved knowledge of the water environment (i.e. fewer water bodies have unknown status).

The analysis of the second RBMPs shows that there is progress in the status of single quality elements and single pollutants. In particular, ecological status has improved for many biological quality elements from the first to the second RBMPs.

For chemical status, a very low proportion of surface water bodies (3 %) are reported to fail to achieve good status if ubiquitous substances, especially mercury, are omitted, and in most Member States only a few priority substances (mainly heavy metals like cadmium, lead and nickel) are responsible for the poor chemical status observed. Improvement in status for several priority substances shows that Member States are making progress in tackling sources of contamination.

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There are several possible explanations for the limited improvements in overall status from the first to the second RBMPs.

  • First, additional biological and chemical monitoring was put in place after 2009 and the classification methods were improved, and in some cases, stricter standards or standards in another matrix than water (biota) were introduced.
  • Second, for some water bodies some quality elements have improved in status, but there has been no improvement in the overall status.
  • Third, the second RBMPs generally show status classification up to 2012/13 and at that time, many measures were only in the process of being implemented and there may be a lag time before the pressures are reduced and there are improvements in status.
  • Finally, some pressures may have been unknown in 2009; and the measures implemented may not have been sufficient and as effective as expected at reducing all the pressures.

Figure 6.1 Comparison of status (ecological, chemical and quantitative status) in the first and second RBMPs.

Source: Preliminary results based on WISE-SOW database – 25 Member States 2017.

Notes: Ecological status: Good = High and good ecological status/potential and Failing to achieve good is moderate, poor and bad status. Only water bodies that are comparable between the two cycles of RBMPs (WISE evolution type nochange, change, changecode) are compared. Status for surface water bodies is based on count of water bodies (92 346 water bodies), while status of groundwater bodies is by the area of groundwater bodies (3.04 million km2).

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Pressures and impacts causing failure to achieve good status

For surface water bodies, the main significant pressures are hydromorphological pressures (41 %), atmospheric deposition and diffuse source pollution (37 %), followed by point source pollution (18 %) and water abstraction (7 %) (Figure 6.2). Atmospheric deposition is mainly reported for water bodies failing good chemical status due to mercury.

The main impacts on surface water bodies are chemical pollution (50 %), followed by altered habitats due to morphological changes (40 %) and nutrient pollution (29 %).

Figure 6.2: Overview of the proportion of surface water bodies having A) main significant pressures and B) impacts in the second RBMPs.

Note: Pressures from diffuse sources do not include atmospheric deposition. The diagrams show the proportion (%) of water bodies affected by each pressure and impact type for the second RBMPs, considering only water bodies which have been classified with respect to ecological status (106 329 water bodies) .

Source: Preliminary results based on WISE-SOW database – 25 Member States 2017.

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Around 18 % of surface water bodies had no identified significant pressures, while 36 % of surface water bodies are affected by 1 pressure, and 39% are affected by multiple (more than one) significant pressures (Figure 6.3). Diffuse pollution and hydromorphology is the most common combination of two-pressures in rivers and lakes (respectively ca. 62 % and 71% of WBs with two-pressures combinations), followed by point and diffuse pollution. In contrast, the most common combination in transitional and coastal waters is point and diffuse source pollution (59 % of transitional and coastal water bodies with two-pressures combinations). Excluding pressures from atmospheric deposition one third of the water bodies are having pressures compared to 40 % of water bodies are in high and good ecological status.

Figure 6.3. Proportion of surface water bodies impacted simultaneously by single, multiple or no pressures at all; A) All pressures and B*) excluding pressures from atmospheric deposition.

Note: The diagram without pressure from atmospheric deposition gives a better indication of proportion of water bodies affected by no pressure or multiple pressures in relation to ecological status.

Source: Preliminary results based on WISE-SOW database – 25 Member States 2017.

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With regard to groundwater, the main pressures for chemical status are diffuse source (34 % of groundwater area) and point source (14 %) pollution, while for groundwater quantitative status; the main pressures are from water abstraction (17 %) (Figure 6.4).

The primary impacts on groundwater are related to chemical pollution (21 % of groundwater area), followed by nutrient pollution (17 %), while different impacts are identified in relation to quantitative status.

Figure 6.4: Overview of the proportion of the area of groundwater bodies having A) main significant pressures and B) impacts in the second RBMPs.

Note: Pressures from diffuse sources do not include atmospheric deposition. The diagrams show the proportion (%) of groundwater area affected by each main pressure and impact for the second RBMPs (4.3 million km2).

Source: Preliminary results based on WISE-SOW database – 25 Member States 2017.


From the first to the second RBMPs there is an increase in the proportion of water bodies being affected by significant pressures. Statements in the digital versions of the RBMPs indicate (e.g. Swedish RBMPs) that this is not due to an actual increase in pressures, but is due to a better knowledge of the pressures affecting the water bodies. In contrast, there is evidence that some pressures have decreased during the first RBMP cycle, which is leading to improved water quality (see section 6.2) and improvements in hydromorphology (see section 6.3).

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Implementation of measures

The WFD requires an assessment of the significant pressures in a river basin, and where a water body is not in good status, a targeted Program of Measures (PoMs) needs to be developed. The first RBMPs already contained many kinds of measures. The types of measures frequently reported by Member States were construction or upgrade of urban waste water treatment plants, encouraging best practice measures in agriculture to reduce nutrient pollution, implementing measures to improve river continuity and habitat quality, ensuring adequate drinking water protection, as well as research projects to improve the knowledge base and reduce uncertainty (EC, 2015[2]).

In December 2012, Member States reported on their progress in implementing the PoMs from the first RBMPs. Already in 2012, the challenge of fully implementing all measures was obvious, as only around a quarter were reported as completed. In 2012, the implementation of most measures (66 % of basic and 54 % of supplementary measures) was still ongoing, while the implementation of other measures had not even started (11 % and 17 % for basic and supplementary measures, respectively).

The interim progress report of Member States on the PoM in 2012 indicated that in the majority of RBDs, basic measures would not be sufficient to tackle these key pressures and supplementary measures would need to be taken. Especially supplementary measures have been reported as necessary to tackle the main pressures on EU water bodies, namely diffuse pollution from agriculture and hydromorphological pressures. In the same time, only 10 % of the supplementary measures for hydromorphology and diffuse pollution sources had been completed by 2012 (75 % were ongoing and 15 % had not yet started) (EC, 2015[3]).

By now, many of the several thousand individual measures in the first RBMPs will have been completed (to be updated based on EC, 2018). However, some measures have been delayed or even not started mainly due to funding constraints, while other measures have been difficult to implement.

In the following sections (6.2 Pollution and water quality; and 6.3 Hydromorphology and water abstractions), an overview of the main issues/pressures is provided (point sources, diffuse sources, chemicals, hydromorphology, and water abstractions), along with examples of key measures that have been implemented in recent years because of the first RBMPs.

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6.2 Pollution and water quality

A range of pollutants in many of Europe’s waters threatens aquatic ecosystems and may raise concerns for public health. These pollutants arise from a range of sources including agriculture, industry, households and the transport sector. They are emitted to water via numerous diffuse and point pathways. Once released into freshwater, pollutants can be transported downstream and ultimately discharged to coastal waters, together with direct discharges from cities, industrial discharges and atmospheric deposition polluting coastal waters.

Clean unpolluted water is essential for our ecosystems. Aquatic plants and animals react to changes in their environment caused by changes in water quality. Pollution takes many forms: 1) faecal contamination from sewage makes water aesthetically unpleasant and unsafe for recreational activities such as swimming; 2) many organic pollutants, including sewage effluent as well as farm and food-processing wastes, consume oxygen, suffocating fish and other aquatic life; 3) excess nutrients can create eutrophication, a process characterised by increased plant growth, problematic algal blooms, depletion of oxygen, loss of life in bottom water, and undesirable disturbance to the balance of organisms present in the water; and moreover, 4) pollution through hazardous substances and chemicals can threaten aquatic ecosystems and human health.

Reducing pollution to meet the objectives of the WFD requires that several other directives and regulations are implemented. These include the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive, the Nitrates Directive, the Directive on Sustainable Use of Pesticides, the Industrial Emissions Directive and the Regulation on the registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction of chemicals (REACH), which all play a key role in tackling point and diffuse source pollution.

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Point source pollution

The point source pressures for surface waters are related to effluent discharges of pollutants from urban waste water followed to a lesser degree by discharges from storm water, industries sites and aquaculture, while the point source pressures affecting groundwater is more related to leaching of hazardous substances from landfills and contaminated sites. During the last century, increased population growth and increased waste water production and discharge from urban areas and industry resulted in a marked increase in water pollution from point sources.

In the second RBMPs, Member States identified 21 % of surface water bodies being affected by point source pollution pressures, with transitional and coastal waters more affected than rivers and lakes. The main driver for point source pollution in the second RBMPs is urban waste water, being the source for around 70 % of surface water bodies affected by point sources. Furthermore, point sources from contaminated sites are a significant pressure for 14 % of groundwater body area.

Downward trends in concentrations of water pollutants associated with urban and industrial wastewater are evident in most of Europe's surface waters (Figure 6.5). This is also reflected in the quality of EU bathing waters, which has improved significantly since 1990 (EEA, 2016[4]). In 2016, more than 96 % of bathing sites had good water quality (EEA, 2017[5]). Concentrations of pollutants associated with waste water discharge such as BOD, ammonium and phosphate in European rivers and lakes have decreased markedly over the past 25 years (Figure 6.5).

Figure 6.5: Trend in Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) and orthophosphate in European rivers.

Note: The diagram depicts two-time series: the longer time series has fewer stations (539) and the shorter time series has more (1 235).

Source: Link

Note: The diagram depicts two-time series: the longer time series has fewer stations (874) and the shorter time series has more (1 470).

Source: Link.


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Measures for improved wastewater treatment

Over the past few decades, clear progress has been made in reducing emissions into surface waters. Implementation of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (91/271/ EEC), together with national legislation, has led to improvements in wastewater treatment across much of the European continent[6], [7]. These positive trends are due to increased connection to sewers, improvements in wastewater treatment and reduction of substances at source such as lowering the phosphate content in detergents. Table 6.1 illustrates some examples of point source measures implemented during the past years.

Table 6.1: Examples of measures on reducing point source discharges

River basin district or country


Danube iRBD


Sewer systems and urban waste water treatment plants have been constructed, upgraded or extended at almost 900 agglomerations (2009-2015 - ICPDR 2015)

Bucharest, Romania

After start of UWWTP operation in 2011, concentrations of organic and nutrient pollution indicators have significantly decreased (2011-2015 – EEA 2016)

St. Petersburg, Russia


After start of UWWTP operation in St. Petersburg in 2005, inputs of nutrients in the Eastern Gulf of Finland significantly decreased; also, several UWWTP enhanced in Poland and Latvia in recent years


Total phosphorus discharges have decreased by ca. 70% from 1983 until 2014 (UBA 2018).

Sources: ICPDR 2015; http://www.icpdr.org/main/activities-projects/river-basin-management-plan-update-2015

EEA 2016: Rivers and lakes in European cities. EEA Report No 26/2016. https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/rivers-and-lakes-in-cities.

HELCOM: St. Petersburg http://www.portofhelsinki.fi/en/emagazine/baltic-sea-recovering

UBA 2018: Einträge von Nähr- und Schadstoffen in die Oberflächengewässer. https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/daten/wasser/fliessgewaesser/eintraege-von-naehr-schadstoffen-in-die#textpart-1

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Diffuse source pollution

In Europe, diffuse source pollution is mostly due to excessive emissions of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) and chemicals such as pesticides. In the second RBMPs, Member States identified that diffuse pollution affects 37 % of surface water bodies[8] and 34 % of the area of groundwater bodies. Agricultural production is a major source of diffuse pollution affecting 68 % of water bodies affected by diffuse pollution pressures[9]. Further drivers include rural dwellings (emissions from households not connected to sewage systems), run-off from urban areas and forested land. Nutrient enrichment causes eutrophication, which in turn leads the loss of aquatic biodiversity and reduction of fish stocks. Excessive nutrient enrichment can be dangerous for human health, e.g. due to toxic algal blooms, and impair the use of drinking water and bathing.

The average nitrate concentration declined by 20 % in European rivers between 1992 and 2012, while already in 2011 groundwater nitrate concentrations almost returned to the levels in 1992 (Figure 6.6). The decline in nitrate concentration reflects the effects of measures to reduce agricultural emissions of nitrate, as well as improvements in wastewater treatment. Decreasing trends are more visible in rivers as they react fairly quickly to changes in nutrient surplus; in contrast, the comparatively long residence time of groundwater may cause delays in recovery in the order of years to decades between the application of nutrient control measures and measurable improvements in water quality.

Figure 6.6: Trend in water quality – nitrate in rivers and groundwater

Note: The diagram depicts two-time series: the longer time series has fewer stations (400) and the shorter time series has more (1242).

Source: Link

Note: The diagram depicts two-time series: the longer time series has fewer stations (1059) and the shorter time series has more (1653).

Source: Link


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Measures to reduce diffuse nutrient pollution.

EU action on curbing diffuse nutrient pollution has a long history[10], [11]. Measures taken in the last decades have resulted in a reduction of mineral fertilizer used and nutrient surpluses of agricultural origin have progressively decreased in the EU (Figure 6.7). Between 2000 and 2013, agricultural nitrogen surplus decreased by 7 % in the EU, while phosphorus surplus have decreased by 50 %[12].

Nevertheless, the overall level of fertilization remains high in parts of Europe. Large variations in the nitrogen and phosphorus surplus exist between Member States[13] and, on average fertiliser use has started increasing again in the last years.

Nutrient balances at river basin level are now used in several countries in order to define nutrient load reduction targets to support the achievement of WFD objectives. Member States have taken measures at the national level or at the level of the river basin (e.g. general binding rules, taxes, manure surplus management), while other measures are more local (e.g. protection of specific drinking water areas).

Some Member States have also focused action in “priority catchments” at higher risk of nutrient enrichment. These catchments tend to receive a greater level of awareness-raising campaigns and investments.

Figure 6.7: Trend in fertiliser use and nutrient surplus.

Note: Only long-term trend is available for the EU15 Member States (mention MS), except for N-fertiliser use, however EU15 accounts for the majority of fertiliser use (80 %) in the EU28.

Source : Eurostat http ://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/en/web/products-datasets/-/AEI_FM_USEFERT & http ://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/en/web/products-datasets/-/AEI_PR_GNB

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During the implementation of the first RBMPs, there were several examples of Member States strengthened action on reduction of nutrient pollution from agriculture (Table 6.2). Member States are implementing different kinds of measures, e.g. farm-level nutrient planning, setting fertiliser standards (e.g. timing), using appropriate tillage, using nitrogen-fixing and catch crops, setting aside buffer strips, and using crop rotation.

Other measures include livestock management through improved feeding (reduced phosphate compounds) and reduced grazing, as well as optimised manure management (increased manure storage, reduced use), and manure surplus management. Manure storage, in particular, can improve timing of application to minimise risks of excessive leaching to the water environment.

Several Member States are also supporting targeted green infrastructure such as constructed wetlands, sediment boxes and run-off ponds that capture and retain nutrient losses through agricultural drainage. River restoration and less-intensive land uses such as afforestation are also increasingly recognised as effective means to tackle diffuse pollution pressures as they increase nutrient retention and recycling.

Despite on-going action to curb diffuse pollution from agriculture, the European Commission estimated recently that measures taken under the Nitrates Directive were not enough to tackle significant pressures from diffuse sources to reach good ecological status[14], [15].

Table 6.2: Examples of measures on reducing pollution from diffuse sources

River basin district or country


Baltic Sea

The Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland and Sweden) and Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithunia) have introduced a wide range of measures to reduce diffuse pollution from agriculture (Andersen et al. 2014)

Nitrate Directive implementation

NW-EU Member States

The impact of the Nitrate Directive implementation in the North-Western EU Member States has been reviewed for the period 1995-2008. The most significant environmental

effect of the implementation of the NiD since 1995 is a major contribution to the decrease of the soil N balance (N surplus). This decrease is accompanied by a modest decrease of nitrate concentrations since 2000 in fresh surface waters in most countries (Grinsven et al. 2012).


A series of policy action plans have been implemented since the mid-1980s with significant effects on the surplus, efficiency and environmental loadings of N. Over the last 30 years the N-leaching from the field root zone has been halved, and N losses to the aquatic and atmospheric environment have been significantly reduced. However, there is still a major challenge in complying with the EU Water Framework and Habitats Directives (Dalgaard et al. 2014)

Leipzig, Germany

Reduction of groundwater nitrate concentration from 40 mg to 20 mg per litre by incentivising organic farming and implementing hydrological measures in drinking water protected areas (BMUB/UBA, 2016)

Schleswig Holstein, Germany

Nitrogen use has in some cases halved (i.e. from 120 to 60 kilograms per ha) at the level of individual farms (BMUB/UBA, 2016)

French Loire-Bretagne RBD

Identification of priority catchments and focus on drinking water protected areas. Increase in the number of balanced manure plans on phosphorous from 53% to 81% between 2009-2012 (Loire-Bretagne RBMP 2015)


In addition to application standards required by the Nitrates Directive, no organic or chemical fertiliser nor soiled water can be applied when heavy rain is forecast within 48 hours or when the ground slopes steeply and there is a risk of water pollution (Amery and Schoumans 2014)

Source: Andersen et al. 2014 Mitigating diffuse nitrogen losses in the Nordic-Baltic countries. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167880914002990

Grinsven et al. 2012: Management, regulation and environmental impacts of nitrogen fertilization in northwestern Europe under the Nitrates Directive: a benchmark study. https://biblio.ugent.be/publication/3072131

Dalgaard et al. 2014: Policies for agricultural nitrogen management—trends, challenges and prospects for improved efficiency in Denmark. http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/9/11/115002/meta

BMUB/UBA, 2016 Water Framework Directive The status of German waters 2015. https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/publikationen/water-framework-directive

Loire-Bretagne RBMP 2015

Amery, F. and O.F. Schoumans, 2014. Agricultural phosphorus legislation in Europe. Merelbeke, ILVO, 45 p.

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Chemical pollution

In the WFD, the risks and impacts from pollution with chemical substances contribute to three different status assessments: 1) surface water chemical status based on priority substances (chapter 3); 2) ecological status as regards River Basin Specific Pollutants (chapter 2) and groundwater chemical status (chapter 4).

The main findings were:

  • The percentage of surface water bodies in good chemical status within the EU is 38 %, while 46 % are not achieving good chemical status and 16 % of the water bodies have unknown chemical status. In many Member States, relatively few substances are causing failure to achieve good chemical status. Mercury causes failure in a high number of water bodies. If widespread pollution by ubiquitous substances including mercury is disregarded, the proportion in good chemical status improves to 78 % of all surface water bodies, and 4 % do not achieve good chemical status (16 % has unknown status). The main pressures leading to failure of good chemical status are atmospheric deposition and discharges from urban waste water treatment plants.
  • Several Member States (Austria, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Luxembourg and Slovenia) have extrapolated the results for failure to reach good chemical status to all water bodies, because the environmental quality standard for mercury was exceeded in all monitoring samples.
  • At EU level, only 5 % of water bodies failed to achieve good status due to River Basin Specific Pollutants (RBSPs) identified by the Member States, with zinc and copper being the main RBSPs causing failure.
  • 74 % of the area of groundwater bodies in the EU is in good chemical status. Of the 160 pollutants causing failure to achieve good status, 15 are reported by more than five Member States. Nitrate is the predominant groundwater pollutant throughout the EU followed by pesticides. In addition, salt intrusion (e.g. chloride), some chemicals used industrially e.g. tetrachloroethylene, and/or metals, such as arsenic, nickel and lead, are causing problems in some Member States. Agriculture is the main pressure causing failure of groundwater chemical status, and other significant pressures are discharges not connected to a sewerage system and pollution from contaminated sites or abandoned industrial sites.

Chemical pollutants are or have been emitted to water bodies through a range of pathways and from a variety of sources, including industry, agriculture, transport, mining and waste disposal, as well as from our own homes. Significant levels of some priority substances have built up from historic use and this legacy pollution may persist in water bodies long after pollutant discharges and inputs have ended.

Information regarding the sources and emissions of many pollutants remains incomplete, limiting the scope for identification and targeting of appropriate measures.

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Effect of regulation of chemicals

Contamination caused by chemical pollutants is a major environmental concern in European waters and consequently is addressed by a number of EU legislative measures and policies. Reducing hazardous substances in water requires implementation of the current legislation, but also the adoption of more sustainable production and use of chemicals, both in Europe and beyond.

Improved efforts to retain these chemicals in waste water treatment plants with better waste water treatment should go hand in hand with clear efforts to reduce them at source. Such measures can range from raising consumer awareness, to encouraging industries to adjust the composition of their products, to, over the longer term, fundamentally reviewing our use of chemicals and product design – for instance, moving towards products, which can be easily repaired or recycled[16].

Reducing the emissions of priority substances and phasing out priority hazardous substances – The WFD requires the adoption of measures to control the discharges, emissions and losses of priority and priority hazardous substances to the aquatic environment – progressive reduction in the case of priority, cessation or phasing out in the case of priority hazardous substances. Declines have been observed in the occurrences of some pesticides (e.g. atrazine and diuron), (see section 3.5). This decline relates to banning or restrictions on their use, while the effects of measures may take time as some are persistent and will stay in waters for decades.

Land contaminated with pollutants, for example, at abandoned mining areas, old industrial sites or old fuel stations can cause damage as the pollutants slowly leach into the water environment. Appropriate remedial actions are removal of contaminated material to be treated or incinerated, settling ponds, and local treatment plants.

Table 6.3: Examples of measures on regulating chemicals

River basin district or country



The Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive[17] is an important instrument to help achieve good water status. It reduces the risks and impacts of pesticides on human health; on the environment; and promotes Integrated Pest Management.


The French Ministry of Agriculture has implemented the Ecophyto Plan aimed at reducing agricultural pesticide use by 50% by 2018. Environmental taxes on sales of pesticides (“redevances pour pollutions diffuses”) have been introduced in order to achieve this objective.


In England one of the measures in the first RBMPs has been a £25m investigation program by the water industry with the focus to gain improved understanding of risks arising from wastewater treatment works discharges.

Missing sources

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Text box: Reduction of mercury in the River Lippe, North Rhine-Westphalia




The River Lippe is a tributary of the Rhine, with rural catchment upstream of Hamm, industrial and mining catchment downstream.

EQS for mercury was not being achieved, so in 2012 additional monitoring programmes were started to better characterize discharges and status. Improved data were used in modelling, showing the pollutant pathways

·         Industrial discharger and power plants: 30 – 45%

·         Municipal sewage plants: 6 – 12 % (more than 90 plants)

·         Diffuse sources: 30 – 45%

Pollution permits were revised for power plants and the chemicals park, rain water systems improved and the chlor alkali production process [closed down]. These actions led to reduction in mercury load between 2008-14.


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6.3 Altered habitat and hydrology including water abstraction

For decades, humans have altered the shape of water bodies and flow of river courses in order to facilitate farming of the land, facilitate navigation, construct hydropower plants and protect settlements and agricultural land against flooding. For these purposes, rivers have been straightened, channelized and disconnected from their floodplains; land has been reclaimed; dams and weirs built, embankments reinforced and groundwater levels lowered. These activities have resulted in altered habitats, changed flows, interruption of river continuity, loss of floodplain connectivity and severe impacts on the status of the aquatic environment. These changes have caused damage to the morphology and hydrology of the water bodies, i.e. to their hydromorphology.

Hydromorphological pressures

Hydromorphological pressures are the second most commonly occurring pressure on surface waters after diffuse sources, affecting 40% of all surface water bodies. The main impact in the context of reporting, which is relevant to hydromorphological pressures, is “altered habitats”.

The most common hydromorphological measures applied in the first RBMPs include fish passes for upstream migration, removal of barriers, establishment of ecological flow, remeandering, reconnecting of backwaters, restoration of bank structure, instream structures (large wood, boulders) and, in some cases, sediment transport management (P&M study, DG ENV, 2012).

The hydromorphological pressures are briefly reviewed and examples on the recent implementation of some of these key hydromorphological measures in European countries are given below.

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Barriers, obstacles and transverse structures - examples of measures to make barriers passable

More than half (53%) of the water bodies impacted by hydromorphological pressures are affected by physical structures which impact longitudinal continuity (barriers, dams, locks). Barriers are mainly used for hydropower, flood protection and irrigation purposes. However, for the majority of barriers reported in the second RBMPs, the driver or water use served by the barrier is unknown or even obsolete.

There are several hundred thousand barriers and transverse structures in European rivers. Some of them are large dams for hydropower production or irrigation storage reservoirs, but the majority are smaller obstacles. Obstacles in rivers cause disturbances and have impacts on river continuity, which vary according to the height of the barrier and location. A major impact on a river could be caused by a single, very damaging structure or by the accumulated effects throughout the length of the river of a series of small structures, which may have only a small impact individually.

Several European river basins have master plans or conservation plans for restoring the population of threatened fish species and restoring river continuity. These plans are often the basis for the RBMP measures against obstacles and transverse structures. Table 6.4 illustrates examples of measures implemented during recent years (first RBMP cycle).

 Table 6.4: Examples of measures on making barriers passable.

River basin district or country


Rhine iRBD


480 measures aimed at improving river continuity have been implemented from 2000 to 2012 (ICPR 2015).

Danube iRBD

More than 120 fish migration aids have been constructed, whereas 667 barriers remain unpassable out of a total 1,030 barriers (2009-2015 - ICPDR 2015).

Elbe iRBD

Continuity are completed for 60 locations and planned for 88 locations for the priority network in the iRBD (2009-2015 - ICPE 2015).

France, Rhône RBD

208 out of 788 priority barriers have been made passable (2010-2015 - Rhône RBD 2016).

France, Seine RBD

254 out of 5474 barriers have measures to improve river continuity implemented (2013-2015 - Seine RBD 2016)


More than 1000 barriers were made passable for fish (2009-2015 - Austria national RBMP 2015)

The Netherlands

Around 600 barriers have been made passable from 2008 to 2015 (Kroes et al. 2015)

UK, England-Wales

229 obstructions across England and Wales have been made passable. (2009-2014 - Nasco.int, 2015 papers)

UK – Scotland RBD

Fish access to 70 water bodies secured by the removal of barriers to fish migration – out of 306 water bodies impacted by migration barriers (2009-2015 - Scotland RBMP)

Source ICPR: River basin management plan 2015. Available at http://www.iksr.org/en/water-framework-directive/river-basin-management-plan-2015/index.html – Section 7.1.1 Restoration of biological river continuity, increase of habitat diversity.

ICPDR 2015; http://www.icpdr.org/main/activities-projects/river-basin-management-plan-update-2015

Rhône Mediterranée district 2016: Tableau de bord adopté par le comité de bassin du 27/05/2016. http://www.rhone-mediterranee.eaufrance.fr/gestion/sdage2016/tableau-de-bord.php

ICPE 2015: Aktualisierung des Bewirtschaftungsplans nach Art. 13 WRRL. https://www.fgg-elbe.de/berichte/aktualisierung-nach-art-13.html

Seine RBMP 2016: Tableau de bord http://www.eau-seine-normandie.fr/mediatheque/Dossier_partage/INSTITUTIONNEL/SDAGE_2016_2021/TdB_SDAGE_2016_CB-4.2_big.pdf

Austria national RBMP 2015: https://www.bmlfuw.gv.at/wasser/wisa/fachinformation/ngp/ngp-2015/text/textdokument_ngp2015.html

Kroes et al. 2015: Fish Migration Possibilities in the Netherlands; State of the Art (Barriers, Solutions, Monitoring). http://scholarworks.umass.edu/fishpassage_conference/2015/June24/25

UK, England-Wales http://www.nasco.int/pdf/2015%20papers/CNL_15_43.pdf

Scotland 2nd RBMP: https://www.sepa.org.uk/environment/water/river-basin-management-planning/the-current-plans/

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Hydromorphological pressures other than continuity interruption and examples of measures

Except for physical structures which interrupt longitudinal continuity (via barriers on the river network), humans have made many other physical changes to rivers, lakes and estuaries. Examples are changes to the size and shape of natural river channels for land drainage and navigation, modifications to beds (via either concrete or change in sedimentation/erosion), the banks and shores of water bodies. These modifications alter natural flow levels and sediment dynamics in surface water bodies and lead to the loss of habitats and recreational uses.

Almost 60 % of the water bodies which are impacted by hydromophological pressures are affected by physical alterations in the channel, bed, riparian zone or shore. The main drivers for the physical alterations reported for water bodies in the second RBMPs are flood protection and agriculture.

Restoration of bank structures, reconnection of backwaters or floodplains and wetland restoration are among the most common measures applied to achieve hydromorphological improvements. In many rivers, habitat quality at the river banks is poor due to bank fixation. Removal of bank fixation is a prerequisite for many other measures like re-meandering or widening as well as initiating later channel migration and dynamics. Also tree-planting and/or preserving riparian zones aim to reverse the impacts of land use change by improving channel stability, aquatic habitat and terrestrial biodiversity.

Especially, wetlands and the floodplains play an important role in the ecological integrity of aquatic ecosystems and they are of significant importance when it comes to ensuring/achieving good ecological status of adjacent water bodies. Wetlands/floodplains also play a significant role for flood retention. The current situation for European floodplains is critical with 95% of the original floodplain area converted to other uses. Many of the remaining European floodplains are far from pristine and have lost most of their natural functions. For example, of the former 26 000 km² of floodplain area along the Danube and its major tributaries, about 20 000 km² are isolated by levees (summary by Tockner et al, 2008).

Reconnecting backwaters, such as oxbows and side channels, and wetlands aims to restore the lateral connectivity between the main river channel, the riparian area and the wider floodplain and to re-vitalise natural processes.

Also activities for the implementation of the Floods Directive and the elaboration of the Flood Risk Management Plans can significantly contribute to the restoration of disconnected wetlands and floodplains. Table 6.5 illustrates examples of measures implemented during the last years.

Table 6.5: Examples of measures address other hydromorphological pressures.

River basin district or country


Rhine iRBD


Reactivation of floodplains from ca. 80km² in 2005 rising to ca 125 km² in 2012.

Increase of structural diversity of banks from ca. 50 km bank length in 2005 to ca. 100 km bank length in 2012

Reconnection of alluvial areas from ca. 35 areas reconnected in 2005 to 80 alluvial areas reconnected in 2012. (2005-2012 – ICPR 2015).

Danube iRBD

More than 50,000 ha of wetlands/floodplains have been partly or totally reconnected, and their hydrological regime improved respectively (2009-2015 - ICPDR 2015).


Ca. 250 water body restructuring activities were carried out to improve hydromorphological conditions in the largest waters of the so-called priority restoration zones (2009-2015 - Austria national RBMP 2015)

France, Rhône RBD

Morphological restoration works carried out on more than 160 km of rivers. Wetland restoration increased from 7 332 ha restored in 2010 to 16 069 ha restored in 2015. (2010-2015 - Rhône RBD 2016)

UK Scotland RBD

Physical conditions of 36 water bodies improved out of 255 water bodies affected by modifications to their beds, banks or shores (2009-2015 Scotland 2nd RBMP)

Source ICPR: River basin management plan 2015. Available at http://www.iksr.org/en/water-framework-directive/river-basin-management-plan-2015/index.html – Section 7.1.1 Restoration of biological river continuity, increase of habitat diversity.

ICPDR 2015; http://www.icpdr.org/main/activities-projects/river-basin-management-plan-update-2015

Austria national RBMP 2015: https://www.bmlfuw.gv.at/wasser/wisa/fachinformation/ngp/ngp-2015/text/textdokument_ngp2015.html

Rhône Mediterranée district 2016: Tableau de bord adopté par le comité de bassin du 27/05/2016. http://www.rhone-mediterranee.eaufrance.fr/gestion/sdage2016/tableau-de-bord.php

Scotland 2nd RBMP: https://www.sepa.org.uk/environment/water/river-basin-management-planning/the-current-plans/

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Hydrological alterations including examples of measures (ecological flows)

Hydrological alterations are pressures that alter the flow regime and/or the water levels of surface and groundwater. Where water flows and levels are not in a good condition, this can affect the abundance and diversity of aquatic plants and animals by reducing the extent, quality, diversity and connectivity of aquatic habitats.

The main pressures on flows and levels are from water abstractions (for public water supply, agriculture or industry) and reservoirs used mainly for hydroelectricity generation and irrigation. Impounded river sections may also be the result of barriers on rivers, which serve uses other than hydropower. Impoundments – in addition to interrupting river/habitat continuity – alter the upstream flow conditions of rivers. A specific type of hydrological pressure related to hydropower comes from hydropeaking activities. Hydropeaking relates to hydropower generation for the provision of peak electricity supply resulting in artificial water level fluctuations.

Hydrological alterations (mainly due to hydropower) affect 17% of the surface water bodies impacted by hydromorphological pressures. One of the key measures to mitigate hydrological impacts from water abstractions or hydromorphological pressures is the establishment of ecological flows. Table 6.6 illustrates examples of ecological flow (or minimum flow) measures implemented during the last years (first RBMP).

Table 6.6: Examples of measures related to E-flows.

River basin district or country




Minimum flow was ensured for ca. 200 residual water stretches (2009-2015 – Austria 2nd RBMPs 2015).

Danube iRBD

Ecological flow requirements for the achievement of GES/GEP have already been achieved for 13 out of 144 significant water abstractions identified in the Danube international RBD (2009-2015 - ICPDR 2015)


Minimum flow was ensured for 3200 water bodies this is an increase of more than 800 water bodies since the first RBMPs (2009-2015 – Spain 2nd RBMPs 2017).

Source: Austria national RBMP 2015: https://www.bmlfuw.gv.at/wasser/wisa/fachinformation/ngp/ngp-2015/text/textdokument_ngp2015.html

ICPDR 2015; http://www.icpdr.org/main/activities-projects/river-basin-management-plan-update-2015

Spain 2017: Summary of Spanish River Basin Management Plans. https://servicio.magrama.gob.es/es/agua/temas/planificacion-hidrologica/summaryrbmp2ndcycledraft_tcm7-448674.pdf

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Water abstractions

Water scarcity and droughts are an increasing problem in many areas of Europe, at least seasonally. The environment needs water to sustain aquatic ecosystems and ecosystem services. Excess water abstraction affects surface and groundwater, altering the hydrological regime and degrading ecosystems, leading to severe ecological impacts that affect biodiversity and habitats, but also the quality of water and soils (e.g. affecting temperature in water, reducing the dilution capacity for pollutants, or salt-water intrusions).

Total water abstraction decreased by around 7 % between 2002 and 2014[18]. Agriculture and public water supply are the main pressures on renewable water resources. Agriculture accounts for 36 % of total consumptive water annual use. In summer, this increases to about 60 %. The share of agriculture in EU water abstraction (24%) has wide variations: in Southern countries the share is 65% (up to 80%), mostly used for crop irrigation. In the spring of 2014, this sector used 66 % of the total water used in Europe. Around 80 % of total water abstraction for agriculture occurred in the Mediterranean region. The total irrigated area in southern Europe increased by 12 % between 2002 and 2014, but the total harvested agricultural production decreased by 36 % in the same period in this region. In 2013, the total irrigable area in the EU-27 was 18.7 million ha, representing an increase by 13.4 % compared to 2003 (Eurostat 2016[19]). The area actually irrigated in 2013 was 10.2 million ha. The highest shares of irrigable areas at country level are expectedly found in some southern Member States: in Greece and Malta shares of 44.9 % and 38.6 % were registered respectively. Cyprus, Italy and Spain followed with 34.9 %, 33.9 % and 31.1 % respectively.

Water abstractions are a key pressure on many water bodies, in particular during temporary drought phenomena or in water scarcity prone areas. Abstractions are a significant pressure for 7 % of surface water bodies in the second RBMPs with a higher regional importance in southern Europe (e.g. in Spain, Italy and France). In the case of groundwater, abstractions (mainly for agriculture and public water supply) and artificial recharge are the main pressures of groundwater bodies in poor quantitative status.

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Measures to reduce impact of over abstractions

In the past, European water management has largely focused on increasing supply by drilling new wells, constructing dams and reservoirs, desalination, large-scale water-transfer infrastructures, etc. However, as Europe cannot endlessly increase water supply. Demand measures could include the use of economic instruments; water loss controls; water-reuse and recycling; increased efficiency of domestic, agricultural and industrial water use; and water-saving campaigns supported by public education programs. Water savings will bring additional benefits, for example by reducing pollution discharges and energy consumption.

Water efficiency — wasting less water and increasing the productivity per volume — is essential for building resilience into our systems and adapting to climate change. Water efficiency is an economic and environmental opportunity that serves sectors and functions that use water, helps economic growth and at the same time safeguards the environment. To realise a boost in water efficiency, both technological development and improved governance for water is needed, together with monitoring methodologies such as 'environmental accounting'.

The WFD obliges Member States to implement water-pricing policies that provide adequate incentives to use water resources efficiently. Water pricing and metering together with water saving measures have been highly effective in changing consumer behavior in many countries (Text box).

Text Box: Pricing and non-pricing measures for managing water demand in Europe [20]

Based on a study of a set of case studies it was found that European Union water policies encourage Member States to implement better management practices. Notably, water pricing policies (levies or tariffs on water use, for example) in combination with other measures, like encouraging the use of water saving devices on shower heads or taps, or education and awareness campaigns. A mix of the two has been used across Europe with varied results. The assessment concludes that national and local water management strategies should focus on designing the most effective combination to get the best results in reducing household water consumption and improving efficient use. The demand for water continues to increase, especially for domestic consumption. Increased intensity and frequency of droughts and water scarcity were identified as the key challenges for five (Cyprus, France, Italy, Romania, and Spain) of the eight countries studied. Overexploitation of groundwater resources was also cited, as demand for water rises not only for residential and tourist sectors but also others like industry and agriculture.

Various practices can be implemented to ensure that agriculture uses water more efficiently. These include changing the timing of irrigation so that it closely follows crop water requirements, adopting more efficient techniques such as sprinkler and drip irrigation systems, and implementing the practice of deficit irrigation; an optimization strategy in which irrigation is applied during drought-sensitive growth stages of a crop.

Leakage of water from supply systems in parts of Europe is substantial, and countries face major challenges in the construction and maintenance of water-related infrastructure. Investing in detection and repairing leaks is important.

Additional water supply infrastructures — such as water storage, water transfers or use of alternative sources — may be considered when other demand options have been exhausted. Water reuse can have two important benefits: It effectively increases the available water resources and it minimizes wastewater outflow. Treated wastewater is currently reused in some southern European countries, primarily for irrigation — crop cultivation, public gardens, parks and golf courses.

Drought management is an essential element of water resource policy and strategies. Drought Management Plans (DMP), based on the characterization of possible droughts in a basin, their effect, and possible mitigation measures, should be prepared on a river basin scale and before emergency schemes have to be applied. DMPs, by promoting sustainable water use, are closely linked with the WFD objectives.

Land management and land-use planning are essential to the management of water resources in water-scarce areas. Important wetlands, which help to store water, have been drained throughout Europe. One priority should be to retain rainwater where it falls, enabling water infiltration, through the re-establishment of wetlands and increased recharge of aquifers.

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6.4 Outlook – what will the status be in 2021, 2027 and beyond[21]

There are two options to look on the future status accessed by Member States in the second RBMPs

  • First, the proportion of water bodies in at least good status in 2021, can be predicted based on the water bodies in 2015 failing to achieve good status (ecological, chemical and quantitative) and not having exemptions.
  • Second, Member States have in the reporting of the second RBMPs been asked to indicate the expected time (2021, 2027 or beyond 2027) to achieve good status for water bodies failing to achieve good status in 2015.

In the following, results on the improvements expected over the second RBMP cycle and beyond are listed.

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Future status predicted based on water bodies without exemptions

The table below lists the proportion of all surface water bodies (SWBS) already in High/Good ecological status/potential; the numbers failing to achieve good status with or without exemptions and the water bodies with unknown status. The results show that based on SWBs with “no exemptions”, improvements in ecological status over the second RBMP cycle are expected to be limited (3.3 %).

Table: Surface water bodies in at least good status, with and without exemptions. <Similar results may be produced for chemical and quantitative status>

Source: Preliminary results based on WISE-SoW database including data from 24 Member States (EU28 except Denmark, Greece, Ireland and Lithuania). Denmark reported a small number of water bodies with exemptions but have a relative high proportion of surface water bodies with unknown status.

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Member States reporting expected time when water bodies will be in good status

For water bodies failing to achieve good status (in 2015), Member States have indicated in their reporting the year (2021, 2027 or beyond 2027) by when they are expected to achieve good status: The results are summarised below

  • In 2015, 43 % of all surface water bodies were in high/good (H/G) ecological status. The H/G percentage is expected to increase to 64 % and 94 % in 2021 and 2027, respectively.
  • For chemical status, 51 % of surface water bodies were expected to be in good status in 2015, this is expected to increase to 53 % and 77 % in 2021 and 2027, respectively. Member States have identified more than 20 % of the surface water bodies with less stringent objectives.
  • In 2015, 71 % of the area of groundwater bodies were in good chemical status. The percentage is expected to increase to 94 % in 2027.
  • For groundwater bodies, a high proportion (89 %) of the area of groundwater were in good quantitative status already in 2015, and in 2027 98 % are expected to be in good status.

Table: Status (ecological, chemical and quantitative) in 2015 and the proportion expected to be in good status in 2021 and 2027. All surface water bodies (by count) and groundwater bodies (weighted by area)

Note: GWBs area of groundwater bodies in million km2.

Source: Preliminary results based on WISE-SoW database including data from 25 Member States (EU28 except Greece, Ireland and Lithuania).

Further and detailed information on status in 2021, 2027 and beyond is available in WISE

·         Ecological status Table

·         Surface water chemical status Table

·         Groundwater chemical status Table

·         Groundwater quantitative status Table

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6.5 Integrated water management

Water is an essential resource for human health, agriculture, energy production, transport and nature, but securing sustainable management of water and of aquatic and water dependent ecosystems and securing that enough water of high quality is available for all purposes, remains a key challenge within Europe and in our time.

The results from the second RBMPs show that European waters remain under multiple pressures from water pollution, over-abstraction and structural change from multiple sectors and human activities. These pressures affect the good functioning of water-related ecosystems, contribute to biodiversity loss, and threaten the long-term delivery of ecosystem services and benefits to society and the economy. To ensure sustainable management of water resources, further policy action will be needed to improve the coherence between economic, societal and environmental goals.

Several European policies are in place in support of the EU Water Framework Directive, which together with the Floods Directive, Groundwater Directive, Environmental Quality Standards Directive, Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive, Groundwater Directive, and Nitrates Directive provides powerful and essential tools for managing water quality in the European Union.

Sustainable and integrated water management plays a substantial role in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the European Union's (EU) 7th Environment Action Programme (7th EAP)[22], and the achievement of the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy[23]. Based on the review of the first RBMPs, the 'Blueprint to safeguard Europe's water resources'[24] has called for increased implementation of integrated water management in Europe. Three areas offering substantial opportunities to improve implementation and support to the achievement of WFD objectives are highlighted below.

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Protection of Europe's aquatic ecosystems and their services

Many opportunities exist for improving implementation and maximizing synergies between environmental policies relevant for the protection of the water environment. In particular, EU policies on water and the marine environment, nature and biodiversity are closely linked, and together they form the backbone of environmental protection of Europe's ecosystems and their services.

The nature directives (Birds (2009/147/EC) and Habitats (92/43/EEC))[25], the Biodiversity Strategy 2020, the Marine Framework Strategy Directive and the Water Framework Directive aim at ensuring healthy aquatic ecosystems, while at the same time ensuring a balance between water and nature protection and the sustainable use of natural resources. The implementation and knowledge generation via the directives partly run in parallel, and not enough coordination between the processes exist[26]. There is thus much scope for more integration concerning monitoring, objectives and targets, and planning processes.

The use of management concepts such as the ecosystem services approach and ecosystem based management can offer ways to improve coordination by setting a more common language and framework to evaluate trade-offs between the multiple benefits that healthy water bodies offer[27], [28].

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Restoring degraded water ecosystems

Until the last 20 to 30 years, the focus of physical water management in many parts of Europe was on providing flood protection, facilitating navigation, and ensuring the drainage of agricultural land and urban areas.

Nowadays, water management increasingly includes ecological concerns, working with natural processes. This is in line with the objective of the 7th EAA 'to protect, conserve and enhance the Union's natural capital'. It is also consistent with Target 2 of the EU's Biodiversity Strategy that aims to ensure maintenance of ecosystems and their services by establishing green infrastructure and restoring at least 15% of degraded ecosystems by 2020. This target means that degraded aquatic ecosystems must also be restored. Synergies between policies can be important in restoring aquatic ecosystems.

Restoring aquatic ecosystems such as 'making room for the river', river restoration or floodplain rehabilitation, 'coastal zone restoration projects' and integrated coastal zone management has multiple benefits for the water ecosystems. The EU-wide Green Infrastructure Strategy[29] includes rivers and floodplains as important elements. The strategy aims to reconnect existing nature areas and improve the overall quality of ecosystems. It also includes Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRMs)[30] that aim to increase soil and landscape water retention and groundwater recharge.

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Integration of water aspects into sector policies[31]

To meet the objectives of the WFD i.e. all water bodies to have good status, river basin authorities will have to address the pressures affecting water bodies. Managing water in a green economy means using water in a sustainable way in all sectors and ensuring that ecosystems have the quantity and quality of water needed to function. It also means fostering a more integrated and ecosystem based approach involving all relevant economic sectors and society.

Recent policy reviews[32] have shown that there is still much scope to further mainstream environmental policy actions into sectoral policies such as the agriculture, energy, transport and other sectors in order to reduce the driving forces leading to aquatic biodiversity loss. This integration throughout the river basin is enhanced by, for example, public participation and stakeholder involvement.

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Agricultural production has become increasingly intensive with high inputs of fertilisers and pesticides, leading to high pollutant loads to the water environment. In northern Europe, many lowland agricultural streams were straightened, deepened and widened to facilitate land drainage and to prevent local flooding. Water storage and abstraction for irrigated agriculture have changed the flow regime of many river basins and lowered groundwater levels, particularly in southern Europe. To achieve good status, it will be essential to address agricultural pressures, while maximising the beneficial effects of good land management.

It is recognized that poorly planned and managed forests can exert a pressure on the water environment. Environmental problems can arise if woodland is poorly managed or planted in unsuitable locations. Well planned and managed forest can be of significant benefit to the local and global environment and may play an active role in rehabilitating degraded and contaminated land, act as a sink for or protect against potential sources of diffuse pollutants and, arguably, reduce flood risk.

Some activities related to energy production such as hydropower, use of cooling water and growing energy crops result in pressures on water management.

<This section will be further updated based on results from Commissions WFD implementation reports>

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[1] Surface water ecological and chemical status; and groundwater chemical and quantitative status.

[2] http://ec.europa.eu/environment/water/water-framework/impl_reports.htm

[3] http://ec.europa.eu/environment/water/water-framework/impl_reports.htm

[4] https://www.eea.europa.eu//publications/european-bathing-water-quality-2015

[5] https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/european-bathing-water-quality-in-2016

[6] EEA, 2016, European water policies and human health — Combining reported environmental information, European Environment Agency (https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/public-health-and-environmental-protection).

[7] CSI024 https://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/indicators/urban-waste-water-treatment/urban-waste-water-treatment-assessment-4

[8] Not including water bodies affected by atmospheric deposition.

[9] https://tableau.discomap.eea.europa.eu/t/Wateronline/views/WISE_SOW_PressuresImpacts/SWB_Pressures/kristensen@eea.dmz1/SWdiffusesourcepressures?:embed=y&:showAppBanner=false&:showShareOptions=true&:display_count=no&:showVizHome=no

[10] Ibisch, R., Austnes, K., Borchardt, D., Boteler, B., Leujak, W., Lukat, E., Rouillard, J., Schmedtje, U., Lyche Solheim, A., Westphal, K. (2016). European assessment of eutrophication abatement across land-based sources, inland and coastal waters. European topic centre on inland, coastal and marine waters, European Environment Agency.

[11] EC. 2009: CIS guidance N° 23 - Eutrophication Assessment in the Context of European Water Policies https://circabc.europa.eu/sd/a/9060bdb4-8b66-439e-a9b0-a5cfd8db2217/Guidance_document_23_Eutrophication.pdf.

[12] EC 2016: CAP monitoring and evaluation indicators 2014-2020, Cap Context indicators. Water quality https://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/cap-indicators/context_en

[13] Eurostat Gross Nitrogen Balance indicator http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Agri-environmental_indicator_-_gross_nitrogen_balance

[14] EC, 2013: COM/2013/0683final.

[15] EC 2015; http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52015DC0120&from=EN

[16] E.g. https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/assets/downloads/New-Plastics-Economy_Catalysing-Action_13-1-17.pdf

[17] Directive 2009/128/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing a framework for Community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides. OJ L 309, 24.11.2009

[18] https://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/indicators/use-of-freshwater-resources-2/assessment-2

[19] Agriculture, forestry and fishery statistics — 2016 edition http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/3217494/7777899/KS-FK-16-001-EN-N.pdf/cae3c56f-53e2-404a-9e9e-fb5f57ab49e3

[20] Dige, G., De Paoli, G., Agenais, A.L., Strosser, P., Anzaldua, G., Rouillard, J., Tröltzsch, Hinzmann, M. (2016). Pricing and non-pricing measures for managing water demand in Europe. Report for the European Environment Agency.

[21] Section to be drafted in coordination with DG ENV and partly based on Compliance assessment

[22] EC (2014), The 7th Environment Action Programme (EAP). http://ec.europa.eu/environment/action-programme/

[23] EC, DG Environment (2012), EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 — towards implementation. http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/biodiversity/strategy/index_en.htm

[24] EC, DG Environment (2012), Blueprint to safeguard Europe's water resources. http://ec.europa.eu/environment/water/blueprint/index_en.htm

[25] http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/legislation/index_en.htm

[26] CIS (Common Implementation Strategy) 2015. A starter’s guide: Overview on the main provisions of the Birds and Habitats Directives, the Water Framework Directive and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive: similarities and differences. November 2015. Available on CIRCABC.

[27] Blackstock, KL, Martin-Ortega, J & Spray, CJ 2015, Implementation of the European Water Framework Directive: what does taking an ecosystem services-based approach add? in J Martin-Ortega, RC Ferrier, IJ Gordon & S Khan (eds), Water ecosystem services: a global perspective. International Hydrology Series, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 57-64, Launch of UNESCO CUP Publication, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, 27 May.

[28] Rouillard, J., Lago, M., Abhold, K., Roeschel, L., Kafyeke, T., Klimmek, H. and Mattheiß, V., 2016. “Synergies and Differences between Biodiversity, Nature, Water and Marine Environment EU Policies: Aquacross Deliverable 2.1 http://aquacross.eu/outputs

[29] EC, DG Environment (2013), Strategy on green infrastructure. http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/ecosystems/index_en.htm

[30] EC, DG Environment (2013), Natural water retention measures. http://ec.europa.eu/environment/water/adaptation/ecosystemstorage.htm

[31] EEA SOER2015 Hydrological systems briefing https://www.eea.europa.eu/soer-2015/europe/hydrological-systems

[32] Rouillard, J., Lago, M., Abhold, K., Roeschel, L., Kafyeke, T., Klimmek, H. and Mattheiß, V., 2016. “Synergies and Differences between Biodiversity, Nature, Water and Marine Environment EU Policies: Deliverable 2.1 Aquacross Deliverable 2.1 http://aquacross.eu/outputs


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