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The EU Floods Directive

Requirements of the Directive

As the Floods Directive has now entered into force the implementation of the Directive is starting, and the timetable is clearly set out. The Directive which applies to all kinds of floods (river, lakes, flash floods, urban floods, coastal floods, including storm surges and tsunamis), on all of the EU territory requires Member States to approach flood risk management in a three stage process whereby :

  1. Member States will by 2011 undertake a preliminary flood risk assessment of their river basins and associated coastal zones, to identify areas where potential significant flood risk exists.
  2. Where real risks of flood damage exist, they must by 2013 develop flood hazard maps and flood risk maps for such areas. These maps will identify areas with a medium likely hood of flooding (at least a 1 in 100 year event) and extreme events or low likelihood events, in which expected water depths should be indicated. In the areas identified as being at risk the number of inhabitants potentially at risk, the economic activity and the environmental damage potential shall be indicated.
  3. Finally, by 2015 flood risk management plans must be drawn up for these zones. These plans are to include measures to reduce the probability of flooding and its potential consequences. They will address all phases of the flood risk management cycle but focus particularly on prevention (i.e. preventing damage caused by floods by avoiding construction of houses and industries in present and future flood-prone areas or by adapting future developments to the risk of flooding), protection (by taking measures to reduce the likelihood of floods and/or the impact of floods in a specific location such as restoring flood plains and wetlands) and preparedness (e.g. providing instructions to the public on what to do in the event of flooding). Due to the nature of flooding, much flexibility on objectives and measures are left to the Member States in view of subsidiarity.

These steps need to be reviewed every 6 years in a cycle coordinated and synchronised with the Water Framework Directive(WFD) implementation cycle. The first milestone will be the development of reporting formats by 2009 and the appointment of competent authorities in spring 2010.

Use of existing flood risk management instruments available before 22.12.2010 fall under specific provisions of the Directive (art 13, FD). Examples of existing flood mapping practices is available in the European Flood Atlas (part of the "Handbook on Flood mapping in Europe"): Coming soon ! 

A strategy to support implementation

To support the implementation of the Directive a Working Group on Floods has been established under the Common Implementation Strategy. The Floods Working Group work programme for 2008-9 is expected to focus on three pillars :

  • Floods Directive Implementation : Development of reporting formats
  • Water Framework Directive : towards joint implementation with the Floods Directive
  • Flood risk management information exchange

The development of reporting formats responds to the requirement of the Directive, and it is envisaged that this reporting will be carried out via WISE (Water Information System for Europe), available at : Examples of information currently reported to WISE in relation to other Directives (WFD, Urban Waste Water, Bathing Water) are available in the WISE viewer.

Further information on the role of information exchange, including some results of this information change is available on this site. The themes selected for further information exchange are : sustainable land use practices, climate change, flood forecasting/flash flooding, flood mapping, preliminary flood risk assessment and integrated river basin management/links with the Water Framework Directive. These themes relate to important.


Directive 2007/60/EC on the assessment and management of flood risks sets out clear deadlines for each of the requirements. The key milestones are listed below.




Entry into force


OJ L 288, 6.11.2007

Art 18



Art 17

Reporting format Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment


Art 11

Administrative arrangements to be in place and to be notified to the Commission 


Art 3

Cut-off date transitional measure (availability of existing tools) 


Art 13

Preliminary flood risk assessment


Art 4 & 5

Public participation process starts (publication of mechanism and timetable for consultation)

22.12.2012 *

Art 9.3 & 10

Flood hazard and risk maps

22.12.2013 **

Art 6

Flood risk management plans

22.12.2015 ***

Art 7

2nd Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment, specific requirement on climate change

Commission's first implementation report due.


Art 14.1 & 4

2nd Flood hazard and risk maps


Art 14.2

End of 1st flood risk management cycle

2nd Flood Risk Management Plans, specific requirement on climate change.

3rd Water Framework Directive River Basin Management Plans.


Art 14.3 & 4

Review /update every 6 years thereafter
Reporting to the Commission : 3 months after 
* = coordination with article 14 (WFD) requirements
** = date of 1st review of pressure and impact analysis under the WFD
*** = date of 1st review of WFD river basin management plans
See also the timetable for implementation of the Water Framework Directive


In order to improve access to environmental information and the availability of reports, the European Commission (DG Environment, Joint Research Centre and Eurostat) and the European Environment Agency have developed an electronic data and information system on water called WISE (Water Information System for Europe).

A Concept paper on "Reporting and compliance checking of the Floods Directive" was approved by the Water Directors of the EU Member States in 2009. On this basis, the Water Directors approved a number of reporting sheets that have been compiled into a "Guidance for Reporting under the Floods Directive". These documents are available in the Floods section of CIRCABC

The reporting under the Floods Directive is carried out via WISE. An on-line map viewer will soon be is available.

The map below shows if reporting of FRMPs has been done.  The map does not, however, give any indication of whether the reporting is conformant to the requirements of the Directive, or if the reported information fulfils all requirements of the respective articles.

Europe Austria Belgium Bulgaria Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Ireland Italy Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Malta Poland Portugal Romania Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden The Netherlands UK luxembourg Norway Croatia
DARK GREEN  – second Flood Risk Management Plans fully reported to CDR
LIGHT GREEN  – second Flood Risk Management Plans reported
YELLOW  – public consultation concluded but second Flood Risk Management Plans not reported yet
ORANGE  – public consultation ongoing
RED  – public consultation not yet started
GRAY  - no info

Disclaimer: The information in the maps may not necessarily reflect the latest formal information that is available to the Commission. Hence, this information does not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission. It is intended for general information to the public but is not the basis on which the European Commission decides upon the necessity to launch legal proceedings against the Member States for not fulfilling the obligations of the Directive.