How well has the EU freshwater policy framework succeeded in ensuring ‘good’ freshwater?

EU Freshwater Policy aims to protect our waters from the adverse impacts of pollution, waterway alterations, water scarcity and floods. Although significant progress throughout Europe has resulted in water quality improvements, significant challenges remain. Agricultural pollution, sewage system overflow and heavy metal contamination are still prevalent in our waters, therefore impacting the societal benefits we obtain from water sources.

The project will support the European Commission Fitness Check of the various directives forming the backbone of EU Freshwater Policy, including but not limited to the Water Framework Directive and the Floods Directive. The fitness check methodology will be in line with the EU’s Better Regulation Guidelines around focusing on effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, coherence and EU added value.

The main activities include:

  • Developing a baseline;
  • Reviewing relevant available information and evidence;
  • Consulting Member States and key stakeholders;
  • Organising workshops; and
  • Finalising the evaluation report.

The current fitness check will result in a synthesis of evidence that is expected to identify areas where simplifications or improvements to the legislation or implementation are needed, therefore serving as the basis for further action by the European Commission.

The project is conducted by Trinomics in collaboration with Amec Foster Wheeler (project lead), Deltares, Wageningen University & Research and Regional Environmental Center. The project will run from April 2018 and is expected to be completed by July 2019.