1.1 What are European significant water management issues?

1.1       What are European significant water management issues?

The significant water management issues (SWMIs) give an overview of the key issues and challenges affecting the water environment that are considered to put our ability to achieve the WFD objectives most at risk. The SWMIs are part of WFD Article 14 and are presented in public consultation summary documents at river basin district (RBD), national or international level as an intermediate step in the preparation of the RBMPs.

Public consultation on the SWMIs helps in shaping priorities of the main issues that need to be tackled with measures in the next RBMP. In addition to presenting evidence on the main pressures and their sources, the summaries of SWMIs also inform on the measures currently being implemented as well as outline further possible solutions to address these issues (Figure 1). Thus, public consultation on the SWMIs is an opportunity to comment on measures identified for addressing the key issues and to propose additional measures that could make an important contribution.

Similar to the first and second planning cycles, Member States have published summaries of significant water management issues (SWMIs) for a 6-month public consultation in preparation of their third RBMPs.

submit comment

Figure 1             Significant Water Management Issue

submit comment

The significant water management issues identified at European level in this report are a structured presentation of EU-level evidence on the main issues and challenges that put European water bodies most at risk of achieving the WFD environmental objectives. The presentation of European significant water management issues aims at improving our understanding of the main sources and sectoral activities behind key pressures and the main associated impacts. In addition, a summary is provided of key measures which are available to tackle the issues across the majority of European countries and of management challenges of EU-wide relevance.

submit comment

The identification of European significant water management issues should also support the upcoming assessments of the published third RBMPs by the European Commission and the EEA, especially in terms of whether efforts and resources in the third cycle have been directed to addressing the most challenging issues.

Ten European significant water management issues have been selected for presentation in this report, which are categorised as follows:

  • Pollution issues – includes point source pollution, diffuse source pollution including scattered dwellings and pollution from mining,
  • Hydromorphological pressures – includes issues related to barriers, loss of lateral connectivity, pressures from hydropower and pressures from inland navigation,
  • Abstractions and water scarcity,
  • Aquaculture, and
  • Invasive alien species.

submit comment