EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) 2000/60/EC
The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) 2000/60/EC, finally adopted on 23 October 2000 sets ambitious objectives that should ensure that all water meet "good status" by the year 2015. It also requires cross-border cooperation, which makes it a promising initiative.To achieve the objective, pollution reduction and control have to be ensured.
Article 16 of the WFD sets out a "Strategy against pollution of water". The first step of the strategy is the establishment of a list of priority substances, which was adopted by a Decision 2455/2001/EC on 20 November 2001. Within this list of 33 substances, 11 substances have been identified as Priority Hazardous substances including: Cd and its compounds, Hg and its compounds, Pb and its compounds, Ni and its compounds and TBT (organotin).Who is concerned
All EU member states must implement the Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC. This is the largest and most significant piece of EU water policy to be developed for at least 20 years. Implementing the Directive will be a challenging task. It has to deliver benefits in a cost-effective way even though there are many significant scientific, technical, planning, administrative, and economic implications. Many of the issues associated with implementation of the Directive are not new but there are several important differences:
- all waterbodies, including rivers, coasts, estuaries, lakes, man-made structures and groundwater are included;
- new objectives will be set to promote the sustainable use of water. These will be defined and assessed using chemical, biological and physical measures;
- negative human impacts on the water environment from specific places, such as factories, and from widespread sources, such as road networks, must be identified and a ‘Programme of Measures’ established to address all types of impacts;
- the costs to each sector created by adopting these measures will be subject to a full economic analysis to ensure charges are fairly apportioned and agreed;
- River Basin Management Plans bring all the above together so that ‘good status’ can be achieved by 2015;
- public participation is a core requirement of the Directive and is fundamental to the River Basin Management Plans process.
Implementation of the Directive will take place in a series of planning cycles. This will allow plans to take into account long-term environmental trends (such as climate change) and improved understanding of basin characteristics. The first cycle must be completed by 2015. Reviews then take place every six years. Although the 2015 deadline may seem far away, the timetable will be very demanding. Implementation of the first planning cycle means meeting a series of challenging deadlines:
- 22/12/2003: Transposition into national law.
- 22/12/2003: Competent Authority appointed.
- 2004: Completion of summary characterisation reports.
- 2006: Monitoring programmes commence.
- 2008: Public consultation on draft River Basin Management Plans.
- 2009: Publish River Basin Management Plans.
- 2009-2012: River Basin Management Plans enacted.
- 2012: Submission of an interim report describing progress in the implementation of the planning Programme of Measures.
- 2015:Target date for achieving Environmental Objectives.