From: Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Published February 27, 2017 10:35 AM

New standards for better water quality in Europe

Researchers present recommendations for revision of the EU Water Framework Directive

The European Water Framework Directive has been in force since 2000. Its purpose is to ensure that rivers, lakes, coastal waters and groundwater achieve a 'good status’ by 2027. This means that bodies of water should contain only minimal pollutants and should provide a near-natural habitat for plants and animals.

Crucially, the European Water Framework Directive looks at bodies of water without regard to international borders - in the case of rivers, from source to estuary. "This is globally unique in this form. It’s the reason why many countries regard the European Water Framework Directive as an ideal model," says environmental chemist Dr. Werner Brack from the UFZ.

However, Europe still has a long way to go to achieve its goal. In many places there is a need to implement concrete measures to improve the water body structure, restore the continuity of surface water and reduce contamination with nutrients and pollutants with much more consistency than has been the case so far. "But the directive itself also has shortcomings, which is why it needs to be revised by 2019," says Werner Brack. Under his leadership, scientists from the European research project SOLUTIONS and the European research network NORMAN have carefully examined these shortcomings and come up with recommendations for improved pollutant monitoring and water management.

Read more at Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ

Photo credit: UFZ / André Künzelmann

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