Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC

European Union

Summary- Identification and analysis of waters - Management and protection measures

Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy. [ See amending acts ].

By means of this Framework Directive, the EU provides for the management of inland surface waters, groundwater, transitional waters and coastal waters in order to prevent and reduce pollution, promote sustainable water use, protect the aquatic environment, improve the status of aquatic ecosystems and mitigate the effects of floods and droughts.

Identification and analysis of waters
The Member States have to identify all the river basins * lying within their national territory and assign them to individual river basin districts * . River basins covering the territory of more than one Member State will be assigned to an international river basin district. By 22 December 2003 at the latest, a competent authority will be designated for each of the river basin districts.

At the latest four years after the date of entry into force of this Directive, Member States must complete an analysis of the characteristics of each river basin district, a review of the impact of human activity on water and an economic analysis of water use, and compile a register of areas requiring special protection. All bodies of water used for the abstraction of water intended for human consumption providing more than 10 cubic metres a day as an average or serving more than fifty persons must be identified.

Management and protection measures
Nine years after the date of entry into force of the Directive, a management plan and programme of measures must be produced for each river basin district, taking account of the results of the analyses and studies carried out.

The measures provided for in the river basin management plan seek to:
* prevent deterioration, enhance and restore bodies of surface water, achieve good chemical and ecological status of such water and reduce pollution from discharges and emissions of hazardous substances;
* protect, enhance and restore all bodies of groundwater, prevent the pollution and deterioration of groundwater, and ensure a balance between groundwater abstraction and replenishment;
* preserve protected areas.

The abovementioned objectives have to be achieved no later than fifteen years after the date of entry into force of the Directive, but this deadline may be extended, albeit under the conditions laid down by the Directive.

The Member States will encourage the active involvement of all interested parties in the implementation of this Directive, in particular as regards the river basin management plans.

Temporary deterioration of bodies of water is not in breach of the requirements of this Directive if it is the result of circumstances which are exceptional or could not reasonably have been foreseen and which are due to an accident, natural causes or force majeure.

From 2010, Member States must ensure that water pricing policies provide adequate incentives for users to use water resources efficiently and that the various economic sectors contribute to the recovery of the costs of water services, including those relating to the environment and resources.

Member States must introduce arrangements to ensure that effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties are imposed in the event of breaches of the provisions of this Framework Directive.

A list of priority substances selected from among the ones which present a significant risk to or via the aquatic environment has been drawn up using a combined monitoring-based and modelling-based procedure. This list is set out in Annex X to the Directive. Control measures for these priority substances and quality standards for concentrations of the substances have also been proposed.