The EU Water Conference was held in Vienna in late September. The aim was to review progress on the implementation of EU water legislation. The event made the case for more integrated water management and found that the overall picture of Europe’s waters today is mixed.
Much more needs to be done to achieve the objectives of the Water Framework Directive and the Floods Directive.
Good progress has been made across Europe in the improvement of water quality. The management of water has become more integrated, and far more knowledge is available. The management of risks to prevent floods has also advanced.
However structural problems remain, including pollution from agriculture or insufficiently treated waste water, damaging physical changes to rivers and lakes and over-abstraction of water. These problems can, amongst others, be tackled when assessing the overall “fitness” of EU Water law, including the Urban Waste Water Treatment directive.
There is also a public consultation (here) with responses due by 4th March 2019.
The EEA presented some of the information emerging from the review of 160 River Basin Management Plans from 25 Member States, the European waters assessment. See https://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/dashboards/wise-wfd and https://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/data/wise-wfd-2, which show some of the outcomes of the assessment to date. A ‘Water is life’ brochure has been produced for the public, available here. It outlines how Europe’s freshwater and marine ecosystems face increasing pressure from human activity, and calls for the ‘blueing’ of our economies and higher water efficiency. The report does not only look at chemical and ecological status but also at plastics in the aquatic environment and the impact of climate change.