European Ecological Water Quality and Intercalibration
Institute for environment and sustainability
The Action EEWAI supports the Commission Services in the definition, adaptation, implementation, and monitoring of EU water policies and legislation. It cross-links the WFD requirements on assessment of ecological status with requirements of the Habitat, Nitrates, and the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directives, and with the objectives of the EU Biodiversity and Marine Strategies. In doing so, the Action also supports the European Environment Agency (EEA) in the development of indicator-based assessments of the ecological surface water status and climate change impacts on water quality.
Supported by EEWAI, the WFD ecological quality objectives are currently defined for a subset of surface water body types and biological quality elements in the European Union Member States (recognised as an achievement of significant importance in the implementation of the WFD).The completion of this work is mandated to be concluded by 2011, thus, in 2009 the EEWAI will continue to provide scientific and technical support to the implementation and harmonization of the WFD ecological water quality objectives.
EEWAI will further extend its activities on biodiversity and adaptation to climate change with respect to impacts on water quality. It will strive to take the first steps to take these activities into a more global scale, and will also extend its activities to the new MFSD, which has become a priority of action within the Commission. In this context, the EEWAI will coordinate the definition of good environmental status descriptors for biodiversity and alien species, and will contribute to the definition of criteria and methods regarding the marine food web elements and eutrophication descriptors in collaboration with the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and with the JRC Actions FISHREG, SOLO, and PROCAS.
Research on the functioning and structure of aquatic ecosystems to tackle the rising problems associated with climate change, biodiversity loss and biologic invasions will be addressed through both institutional research and in collaboration with research networks (i.e. European DG-RTD-funded FP7 research projects WISER (Water bodies in Europe: Integrative Systems to assess Ecological status and Recovery), BACSIN (Bacterial Abiotic Cellular Stress and Survival Improvement Network), EFI+ (Improvement and Spatial extension of the European Fish Index) and other international research projects such as BIOCLASS-FRESH (Biological indicators for classification of ecological status in freshwater). The main goal is to develop sound knowledge base contributing to modelling (internal linking with the ATEAM Action) and planning restoration measures to achieve good ecological status and to protect aquatic biodiversity. The research work will also include the development of novel tools for the assessment of genetic biodiversity and the development of molecular biomarkers reflecting impacts of toxic compounds on the cellular and molecular level of the biological organization.