10 years of the Water Framework Directive: A Toothless Tiger?

    453 640 Almut Bonhage

    The adoption of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) in 2000 was a major landmark establishing new requirements for integrated river basin planning in order to achieve ecological objectives. Ten years of planning and consultation across Europe went into River Basin Management Plans (RBMP), which were meant to be the main vehicles for realising the new water management regime by setting the environmental objectives.

    With this fifth snapshot the EEB and its Members have investigated RBMPs across Europe to get a quantitative comparison of environmental ambitions, focussing on nutrient pollution.

    This snapshot established serious doubts over the effectiveness of the WFD implementation to change specific and wellknown unsustainable water management practices. Robust nutrient pollution parameters and targeted measures, as they should be used to define and achieve the good ecological status under the ‘one out – all out’ principle, are unnecessarily drowning in complexity and ignorance. These issues have to be addressed in a general and longer-term perspective in the Commission’s 2012 review of the WFD implementation as part of the ‘Blueprint to safeguard EU water’ (EC 2010).

    Paper researched and written by Stefan Scheuer (Stefan Scheuer S.P.R.L.) and Joeri Naus (EEB stagaire)


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