With the process of implementation of the WFD, IWRM principles of sectoral integration, the use of hydrological units such as the river basin as administrative entities and public and stakeholder participation have become accepted in theory, if not always so in practice. Five water districts were created in Sweden based on hydrological borders and the flow of water into, mainly, the Baltic Sea. As such this involves a major change in management paradigms, from earlier systems based on administrative (county and local) borders to the watershed as a unit of administration. The introduction of the WFD has also encouraged a process of horizontal integration which consists of interactions between ministries and agencies at a) the state level, b) the county authorities at a regional level, and c) local authorities. Cooperation between county authorities is especially noteworthy, as each of the water districts in the country include a number of counties and their authorities. In order to facilitate participation water councils have been developed or created; these are made up of representatives of authorities, water users and other interested parties who pool resources, usually in order to monitor water quality and use. Water councils have existed since the 1950’s in southern Sweden, but are a relatively new phenomenon in the north, where ownership patterns dominated by the state and large companies did not encourage the active involvement of users and the public in water management. Public participation, a central aspect of both IWRM and the EU WFD, has generally been organised through the involvement of representatives of organisations, and has usually been limited to informative and consultative aspects of participation and not to shared decision-making.
- Water Framework Directive (WFD)