Programmes of measures, monitoring, and management

In order to achieve the environmental objectives, Member States must establish a programme of measures for each river basin district. Such programmes are to include a number of ‘basic’ measures as well as, where necessary, ‘supplementary’ measures.

Many of the twelve listed basic measures concern fulfilment of obligations in other EU legislation for the protection of water or refer in general terms to requirements of the WFD itself, such as recovery of costs for water services and promotion of efficient and sustainable water use in order to avoid compromising the achievement of the environmental objectives ofArticle 4. There are also more specific basic measures, including requirements to impose controls over the abstraction of fresh surface water and groundwater and a requirement for prior authorisation of artificial recharge or augmentation of groundwater bodies. Point source discharges liable to cause pollution must be subject to prior regulation, prior authorisation, or registration based on general binding rules, laying down emission controls for the pollutants concerned. For diffuse sources liable to cause pollution, measures must be taken to prevent or control the input of pollutants. There must also be a general prohibition, subject to some exemptions, on direct discharges of pollutants into groundwater. (Art 11.)

‘Supplementary’ measures are measures designed and implemented in addition to the basic measures, with the aim of achieving the environmental objectives. A non-exclusive list of such measures can be found in Part B of Annex VI. Some of these, such as ‘economic or fiscal instruments’, should rather be described as categories of measure, whereas others, such as ‘recreation and restoration of wetlands areas’, are more concrete. Whereas the basic measures have been described as being, to a large extent, obligations on the design of water administration and management in the Member States, the supplementary measures show what may need to be done if the diligent implementation of existing legal instruments is not sufficient to meet the environmental objectives.34

The programmes of measures had to be established by 2009 and all the measures were to be operational by 2012. They were to be reviewed, and if necessary updated, at the latest in 2015, and every six years thereafter. (Art 11.)

  • 32 See (visited 4 December 2015).
  • 33 On this matter see H Josefsson ‘Ecological Status as a Legal Construct—Determining Its Legal and Ecological Meaning’ (2015) 27Journal of Environmental Law 231—58, 39 et seq and the literature cited there.
  • 34 L Baaner ‘The Programme of Measures of the Water Framework Directive—More Than Just a Formal Compliance Tool’ (2011) 8 Journal for European Environmental & Planning Law 82—100, 89.

In order to establish a coherent and comprehensive overview of water status within each river basin district, programmes shall be established for the monitoring of water status. For surface waters such programmes shall cover the volume and level or rate of flow to the extent relevant as well as the ecological and chemical status and ecological potential. For groundwaters they shall cover monitoring of the chemical and quantitative status. The monitoring shall be in accordance with the requirements of Annex V. All bodies of water used for the abstraction of water intended for human consumption above a certain daily volume as well as bodies of water intended for such use in future are subject to specific monitoring and quality requirements. Member States may also establish safeguard zones for such bodies of water. (Arts 7 and 8 and Annex V.)

Minimum performance criteria for methods of analysis to be applied by Member States when monitoring water status, sediment, and biota have been laid down in a Commission directive.^

If monitoring or other data indicate that the environmental objectives for a body of water are unlikely to be achieved, the causes of the possible failure must be investigated and relevant permits and authorisations examined and reviewed as appropriate. The monitoring programmes must also be reviewed and adjusted as appropriate and additional measures as may be necessary must be established, including, as appropriate, the establishment of stricter EQS. (Art 11.)

For each river basin district there must be a river basin management plan, which is to include the information detailed in Annex VII. Specific rules apply to international river basin districts, both those falling entirely within the EU and those extending beyond the boundaries of the Union. Similar to the programmes of measures, the river basin management plans were to be published in 2009 at the latest and to be reviewed and updated at the latest in 2015 and every six years thereafter.

Active involvement of all interested parties in the production, review, and updating of the river basin management plans is to be encouraged. Certain documents, including a timetable and work programme for the production of the plan, an interim overview of the significant water management issues identified in the river basin, and draft copies of the river basin management plan must be published and made available for comments to the public. (Arts 13, 14, and 15.)

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