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Chartered Institution of Water and
Environmental Management (CIWEM)

106-109 Saffron Hill, London, EC1N 8QS  
Tel: 020 7831 3110 Fax: 020 7405 4967
 

Water Framework Directive

small_lw_award2004.jpgWhat is the Water Framework Directive?

The Water Framework Directive is a piece of European Union legislation designed to preserve, restore and improve the water environment. It establishes a framework for managing the water environment in a holistic manner taking into account environmental, social and economic factors.

The Directive was established in October 2000 by the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union that proposes legislation, implements EU policies and enforces EU law. Each of the Member States of the European Union is required to implement the legislation and achieve the environmental objectives the Directive sets.

Article 4 of the Directive outlines the environmental objectives to be met. They are:

  • All surface water bodies to achieve good ecological and chemical status by 2015. This covers inland waters, transitional waters (estuaries) and coastal waters.
  • All groundwater bodies to achieve good groundwater quantitative and chemical status by 2015.
  • Heavily-modified water bodies and artificial water bodies to achieve good ecological potential and good surface water chemical status by 2015.
  • No water bodies to experience deterioration in status from one class to another.
  • Protected Areas to achieve the requirements made under their designation in relation to the water environment.

rainbow_jc.jpgWho is involved?

As well as the twenty five EU Member States implementing the Directive, EU candidate countries such as Romania and Bulgaria and EFTA members such as Norway and Iceland are also implementing it, although not to the same timescale.

How is it being implemented?

Each member state has to transpose the directive into their own national legislation. Although there is considerable flexibility in the transposition, to ensure commonality across Europe, a 'Common Implementation Strategy' provides guidance for Member States. Member States are required to designate a Competent Authority to oversee the transposition.

As part of the Common Implementation Strategy, fifteen Pilot River Basins have been set up to test the guidance documents produced by the Common Implementation Strategy working groups.

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Chartered Institution of Water and
Environmental Management (CIWEM)

106-109 Saffron Hill, London, EC1N 8QS  
Tel: 020 7831 3110 Fax: 020 7405 4967

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