Many rivers and streams in Europe are far away from the good water status that they should have reached already in 2015 under the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD). Experience in some countries has shown that the WFD system of river basin management plans and programmes of measures that should remedy this situation needs to be supplemented by more concrete and action oriented planning at sub-basin and catchment level. An IMPEL project was therefore conducted in 2017 – 2018 to prepare useful guidance for river (or catchment) development planning by water authorities or other competent organisations.
Under Article 4(1)(a) of the EU Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC, “WFD”), Member States have to implement the necessary measures to prevent deterioration of the status of all bodies of surface water, and to protect, enhance and restore all bodies of surface water with the aim of achieving good surface water status – signifying good ecological as well as chemical status – at the latest 15 years after the date of entry into force of this Directive. The aim of good water status should thus have been reached in December 2015.
However, all EU Member States are still far behind schedule, especially those countries in Central and North West Europe that are densely populated and dominated by industry and/or intensive agriculture. Here rivers, streams and lakes suffer from pollution by wastewater, agricultural fertilizers and pesticides, heavy canalization, obstruction by hydro dam barriers, as well as urban sprawl and ground sealing in the catchment areas.
The IMPEL guideline provides recommendations and shows good practice examples from participant states how to plan and implement relevant measures in collaboration with stakeholders, NGOs and the general public. The report – summarized also in an abstract – outlines the objectives and structure of the project, the results of the survey, the evolution of the RDP guideline, and the issues and results of discussion.