0 Guidance to reader

0.     Guidance to the reader

To maintain and improve the essential functions of our water ecosystems, we need to manage them well. This can only succeed if we adopt the integrated approach introduced in the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and other water policies. Many European water bodies are at risk of failing to meet the aim of the WFD of achieving good status by 2015, due to problems in the management of water quality, water quantity, modifications of the structure of river banks and beds and the connectivity of rivers. Full implementation of the WFD throughout all sectors is needed to resolve these potential conflicts and to commit all users in a river basin to focus on the achievement of healthy water bodies with good ecological status.

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0.1.     EEA 2012 State of water assessments

2012 will be the European year of water in which The Commission will publish its “Blue-print to safeguard European waters” comprising reviews of the WFD, Water scarcity and drought and vulnerability and adaptation  policies; In addition in March 2012 the 5th World Water Forum will be held in Marseille, France.

To accompany and inform these events and policy processes EEA plans for 2012 a set of reports on the “State of Europe’s water”. The reports will be based on information reported in 2010 via River Basin Management Plans and supplemented with assessments of information from other sources. It will be developed in close cooperation and coordination with the DG Environment’s assessment of the RBMPs and the development of the blueprint (impact assessment, reports; communication, staff working documents).  The format of the EEA 2012 State of Europe’s water assessment is planned to consist of four thematic assessments and an overarching synthesis and integrated report. In terms of communication, the several assessments are planned to be published on several occasions throughout 2012. EEA are currently working on the following thematic assessments with indication of when they are to be published:

  1. Efficient Use of Water Resources (World Water Forum, Marseilles, March 2012)
  2. Vulnerability (Water scarcity and drought, floods, water quality) – Autumn 2012
  3. WFD: Ecological and chemical status and pressures – Autumn 2012
  4. WFD: Hydromorphology – Summer 2012


First reporting of the River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) under the Water Framework Directive (WFD) was due end 2009. Most Member States (23 out of 27 Member States) have reported their RBMPs and delivered a huge amount of data on status, pressures and measures to the WISE-WFD database. According to Article 18 of the WFD the EU Commission shall publish a report on the implementation of this Directive at the latest 12 years after the date of entry into force of this Directive (two years after the Member States have delivered the RBMPs). The report shall among others include the following:

  • a review of progress in the implementation of the Directive;
  • a review of the status of surface water and groundwater in the Community undertaken in coordination with the European Environment Agency;

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The current draft report on ecological and chemical status, pressures and impacts aims at providing an overview of the results on status and pressures from the River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs).

  • Chapters 1 present general information on the WFD and the geographical settings including an overview of European river basin and sea regions.
  • Chapter 2 present the current status of reported information and data by Member States in relation to RBMPs and a summary on information on River Basin Districts (RBDs) and water bodies (WBs).
  • Chapter 3 provides an overview of the methodology used for data handling and describes different assumptions made.
  • Chapters 4 to7 present results, information and assessment on status, pressures and impacts of European waters. The results are a compilation of results based on the data reported by Member States with their RBMPs and stored in the WISE-WFD database. All chapters present results for the four water categories: rivers, lakes, transitional and coastal waters. Chapter 6 on chemical status also presents information on groundwater bodies.
  • Chapter 4 provide an overview of the ecological status, significant pressures and impacts the four surface water categories by Member States). The chapter aims at comparing the ecological status in Member States and relate the observed ecological status to percentage of water bodies affected by significant pressures and impacts.
  • Chapter 5 presents overall European results on ecological status, pressures and impact and the status of River Basin Districts (RBDs) are presented in form of European maps. The chapter compares the status and pressures for different surface water categories. This chapter will be further developed when there are a better data set on common typologies is available (expected in the spring 2012).
  • Chapter 6 provide an overview of the chemical status of surface and groundwater bodies in Europe.
  • Chapter 7 presents information on ecological status and water quality. The chapter first present trend in pollution and water quality over the last 20 years and describe the status of implementing the Urban Waste Water Treatment and Nitrate Directive. Results on linking the on status, pressures and impacts to water quality (data reported to EEA by countries via WISE-SOE);

It is the intention to add some chapters on environmental objectives (status in 2015) and on measures. These chapters will be developed on basis of the analysis done by EU Commission DG ENV.

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We hope that Member States and relevant stakeholders will contribute with case studies, text boxes expressing their views on the aspects raised in the respective chapters..


Comments and suggestions to the current draft are very much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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The current draft is based on data delivered by the Member States via WISE up to February 2012 and in some cases information available in digital version of RBMPs. Where MS did not deliver data or the RBMPs are not yet available, information from the specific MS or RBDs are not presented.

Where data are available, it has been dealt with, and is presented, to the best of our knowledge. Nevertheless inconsistencies and errors cannot be ruled out. Comments and remarks on results are very much appreciated.

The current draft is partly based on copy and paste of text from the multitude of documents produced on the WFD (Commission and national WFD guidance documents, RBMPs and Article 5 reports etc.). Sources have in most cases been listed (to be improved in next draft).

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