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Implementing the EU Water Framework Directive & the Floods Directive

The implementation of the Water Framework Directive raises a number of shared technical challenges for the Member States, the Commission, the Candidate and EEA Countries as well as stakeholders and NGOs. In addition, many of the European river basins are international, crossing administrative and territorial borders and therefore a common understanding and approach is crucial to the successful and effective implementation of the Directive.

In order to address the challenges in a co-operative and coordinated way, the Member States, Norway and the Commission agreed on a Common Implementation Strategy (CIS) for the Water Framework Directive only five months after the entry into force of the Directive.

The results of this work, for instance guidance documents, resource documents or key events related to different aspects of the implementation is available on CIRCA, and Thematic CIS information sheets [Hyperlink to new heading att he bottom] are available giving an overview with direct links to key documents available.

More details on the overall concept, the numerous activities and the mandates of the Working Groups under the Common Implementation Strategy are given in the Work programmes informally agreed by EU Water Directors (available for download in pdf format, ~ 0,9 to 1,5 MB):

The common strategy also supports the Commission in delivering on its obligations for further policy development (Daughter Directives on groundwater and on priority substances).

In addition, the newly adopted Directive 2007/60/EC on the assessment and management of flood risks shall be closely coordinated with the Water Framework Directive. The Common Implementation Strategy therefore also supports the implementation of the Floods Directive, through Working group F on Floods. More details on the work programme and mandate of that Working group is given in the following agreed informal document :

Find some more details, in particular about:

  • Transposition and Reporting
    Overview of the obligations on the Member States
  • Guidance Documents
    Several documents on technical aspects elaborated in the context of the CIS
  • Pilot River Basins
    Important testing of guidance documents has been carried out by Pilot River Basins
  • Environmental objectives and intercalibration
    The environmental objectives constitute the core of the Water Framework Directive (WFD). Follow this link to know more about them and the on-going intercalibration exercise.
  • Water economics
    Economics is important in the implementation of the Water Framework Directive. Follow this link to find more information, guidance, studies and training material on these requirements and more.
  • WFD implementation links
    Links to official WFD implementation web sites of the Member States, International River Basin Commissions an of the WFD Pilot River Basins.

The documents which are prepared in the context of the Common Implementation Strategy and many other useful documents are available on a specific information exchange platform which was set up for this process, the so-called WFD CIRCA Interest Group "Implementing the Water Framework Directive".

Thematic CIS information sheets

The following thematic information sheets are available on CIRCABC, providing more information and resource material publicly available on a variety of subject(s) :

Topic n°1 : River Basin Management

Topic n°2 : Reporting and WISE (Water Information System for Europe)

Topic n°3 : Ecological Status

Topic n°4 : Groundwater

Topic n°5 : Chemical Aspects

Topic n°6 : Flood Risk Management

Topic n°7 : Climate Change and Water

Topic n°8 : Water Scarcity and drought

Topic n°9 : Agriculture and Water

Topic n°10 : Biodiversity and water

Topic n°11 : Hydromorphology

Topic n°12 : Economic Issues

Topic n°13: Water Science-Policy Interface