European citizens rank water quality as one of their main environmental priorities and a number of LIFE projects are helping to guide the implementation of EU water policy.
The EU’s Water Framework Directive (WFD) provides Member States with an important policy tool to manage water quality and quantity in our rivers, lakes, ground waters and seas. A core aspect of the WFD involves promoting water management that addresses environmental, economic and social factors within an integrated package of inclusive actions.
River basins districts are highlighted in the WFD as the most effective platforms for implementing coordinated approaches. These natural geographical and hydrological areas make more environmental sense for planning water quality measures than administrative or political boundaries, since many rivers cross regional and national frontiers.
In recognition of these facts, the WFD has established legal requirements for environmental authorities to develop River Basin Management Plans (RBMP). The deadline for these RBMPs to be in place is December 2009 and a key conference on RBMP preparation will take place in Brussels on 2-3 April 2009.
Focussing on, “today's water policy shaping future water quality”, the 2nd European Water conference is billed as an important milestone in the European debate on the preparation of the RBMPs. The conference aims to draw maximum attention to the RBMPs by encouraging active involvement of citizens and stakeholders. Core concepts covered during the two day programme include:
A wide range of different LIFE projects have been actively involved in water management issues that support the objectives of RBMPs. These include the following selection of LIFE Environment, LIFE Nature and LIFE TCY projects:
Further information about LIFE projects’ links with the aims and objectives of RBMPs can be found in the brochure LIFE and Europe’s rivers, which features various examples of LIFE actions supporting integrated river basin management.