Protecting and restoring Europe's waters: an analysis of the future development needs of the Water Framework Directive

Laurence Carvalho (Lead / Corresponding author), Eleanor B. Mackay, Ana Cristina Cardoso, Annette Baattrup-Pedersen, Sebastian Birk, Kirsty Blackstock, Gabor Borics, Angel Borja, Christian K. Feld, Maria Teresa Ferreira, Lidija Globevnik, Bruna Grizzetti, Sarah Hendry, Daniel Hering, Martyn Kelly, Sindre Langaas, Kristian Meissner, Yiannis Panagopoulos, Ellis Penning, Josselin RouillardSergi Sabater, Ursula Schmedtje, Bryan M. Spears, Markus Venohr, Wouter van de Bund, Anne Lyche Solheim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

53 Citations (Scopus)
180 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The Water Framework Directive (WFD) is a pioneering piece of legislation that aims to protect and enhance aquatic ecosystems and promote sustainable water use across Europe. There is growing concern that the objective of good status, or higher, in all EU waters by 2027 is a long way from being achieved in many countries. Through questionnaire analysis of almost 100 experts, we provide recommendations to enhance WFD monitoring and assessment systems, improve programmes of measures and further integrate with other sectoral policies. Our analysis highlights that there is great potential to enhance assessment schemes through strategic design of monitoring networks and innovation, such as earth observation. New diagnostic tools that use existing WFD monitoring data, but incorporate novel statistical and trait-based approaches could be used more widely to diagnose the cause of deterioration under conditions of multiple pressures and deliver a hierarchy of solutions for more evidence-driven decisions in river basin management. There is also a growing recognition that measures undertaken in river basin management should deliver multiple benefits across sectors, such as reduced flood risk, and there needs to be robust demonstration studies that evaluate these. Continued efforts in ‘mainstreaming’ water policy into other policy sectors is clearly needed to deliver wider success with WFD goals, particularly with agricultural policy. Other key policy areas where a need for stronger integration with water policy was recognised included urban planning (waste water treatment), flooding, climate and energy (hydropower). Having a deadline for attaining the policy objective of good status is important, but even more essential is to have a permanent framework for river basin management that addresses the delays in implementation of measures. This requires a long-term perspective, far beyond the current deadline of 2027.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1228-1238
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume658
Early online date18 Dec 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2019

Keywords

  • Assessment
  • Governance
  • Management
  • Monitoring
  • Water policy
  • WFD

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Protecting and restoring Europe's waters: an analysis of the future development needs of the Water Framework Directive'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Carvalho, L., Mackay, E. B., Cardoso, A. C., Baattrup-Pedersen, A., Birk, S., Blackstock, K., Borics, G., Borja, A., Feld, C. K., Ferreira, M. T., Globevnik, L., Grizzetti, B., Hendry, S., Hering, D., Kelly, M., Langaas, S., Meissner, K., Panagopoulos, Y., Penning, E., ... Solheim, A. L. (2019). Protecting and restoring Europe's waters: an analysis of the future development needs of the Water Framework Directive. Science of the Total Environment, 658, 1228-1238. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.12.255