Working Subgroup for Water quality
The sub-chapter of Water is composed of 10 pieces of legislations. The main Directive is Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC (WFD), which is unique Europe’s key tool for protecting the quality of its waters in response to the increasing threat of pollution and the increasing public demand for clean waters. The key WFD objectives are: expanding the scope of water protection to all waters (surface waters and groundwater); achieving “good status” for all waters by a set deadline; water management based on river basins; “combined approach” of emission limit values and quality standards; getting the prices right (including polluter pays principle); getting the citizen involved more closely and streamlining legislation.
Based on the main requirements of the WFD, the following legal context’s European Water Policy, introduce targets and tools to be followed by MS, such as:
- Directive 2006/118/EC “on the protection of groundwater against pollution and deterioration”, establishes specific measures such as criteria for the assessment of good groundwater chemical status and criteria for the identification and reversal of significant and sustained upward trends and for the definition of starting points for trend reversals in order to prevent and control groundwater pollution. It also complements the provisions preventing or limiting inputs of pollutants into groundwater already contained in WFD, and aims to prevent the deterioration of the status of all bodies of groundwater.
- Directive 2007/60/EC “on the assessment and management of flood risks” requires if all water courses and coast lines are at risk from flooding, to map the flood extent and assets and humans at risk in these areas and to take adequate and coordinated measures to reduce this flood risk. It also reinforces the rights of the public to access this information and to have a say in the planning process.
- Directive 2009/90/EC on “technical specifications for chemical analysis and monitoring of water status” lays down technical specifications for chemical analysis and monitoring of water status in accordance with WFD. It establishes minimum performance criteria for methods of analysis when monitoring water status, sediment and biota, as well as rules for demonstrating the quality of analytical results. It also requests that all methods of analysis, including laboratory, field and on-line methods, used for the purposes of chemical monitoring programmes carried out under WFD are validated and documented in accordance with EN ISO/IEC-17025 standard or other equivalent standards accepted at international level.
- Directive 2008/105/EC on “environmental quality standards/priority substances” lays down environmental quality standards (EQS) for priority substances and certain other pollutants, with the aim of achieving good surface water chemical status and in accordance with the provisions and objectives of WFD. MS should improve the knowledge and data available on sources of priority substances and ways in which pollution occurs in order to identify targeted and effective control options
- Directive 2008/56/EC on the “establishment of a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy” (Marine Strategy Framework Directive) offers a framework for the sustainable use of the marine waters also a comprehensive and integrated approach to coastal waters. The criteria and methodological standards for the implementation of Marine Strategy on good environmental status, specifications and standardized methods for monitoring and assessment were revised in 2017 through Directive 2017/845/EU.
- Directive 91/676/EEC on “concerning the protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources”, aims to protect water quality across Europe by preventing nitrates from agricultural sources polluting ground and surface waters and by promoting the use of good farming practices. It forms an integral part of the WFD and is one of the key instruments in the protection of waters against agricultural pressures. MS are obliged to monitor the nitrate concentrations in ground waters and surface waters as well as monitor eutrophication in surface waters, review and if necessary revise or add to the designation of vulnerable zones. This Directive was amended by Regulation (EC) 1882/2003 and Regulation (EC) 1137/2008.
- Directive 2006/7/EC on “concerning the management of bathing water quality” is amended by Regulation (EC) 596/2009 and Directive 2013/64/EU ensures timely information of the public during the bathing season, with an obligation to disseminate actively and promptly information on bathing water quality. It applies to surface waters that can be used for bathing except for swimming pools and spa pools, confined waters subject to treatment or used for therapeutic purposes and confined waters artificially separated from surface water and groundwater. Two main parameters for analysis are defined such as intestinal enterococci and Escherichia coli. The waters are classified according to their level of quality: poor, sufficient, good or excellent, linked to clear numerical quality standards for bacteriological quality.
- Directive 98/83/EC on the “quality of water intended for human consumption: drinking water”, is amended by Regulations (EC) 1882/2003, (EC) 596/2009 and Commission Directive (EU) 2015/1787 and Commission Decision 95/337/EC concerning questionnaires relating to directives in the water sector. This Directive concerns the quality of water intended for human consumption. The main objective of this Directive is to protect the human health from the adverse effects resulting from contamination of water intended for human consumption, guaranteeing its health and cleanliness. Subject of this directive are all drinking water supply systems serving >50 people.
- Directive 91/271/EEC on the “concern of urban waste water treatment”, as amended by Commission Directive 98/15/EC, Regulation 1882/2003 and Regulation 1137/2008. This Directive concerns collection, processing and the discharge of urban waste water, as well as the treatment and the discharge of waste water from certain industrial sectors. It intends to protect the environment from repercussions adverse effects caused by the aforementioned waste water discharges. It applies for collection and treatment of waste water in agglomerations of > 2000 population equivalents (p.e.)
Directive 91/676/EEC “concerning the protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources”, as amended by Regulation (EC) 1882/2003 and Regulation (EC) 1137/2008. It aims to protect water quality by preventing nitrates from agricultural sources polluting ground and surface waters and by promoting the use of good farming practices. It also forms an integral part of the WFD and is one of the key instruments in the protection of waters against agricultural pressures. MS are obliged to monitor the nitrate concentrations in ground waters and surface waters as well as monitor eutrophication in surface waters.