Water statistics on national level (env_nwat)

Reference Metadata in Euro SDMX Metadata Structure (ESMS)

Compiling agency: Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Union

Eurostat metadata
Reference metadata
1. Contact
2. Metadata update
3. Statistical presentation
4. Unit of measure
5. Reference Period
6. Institutional Mandate
7. Confidentiality
8. Release policy
9. Frequency of dissemination
10. Accessibility and clarity
11. Quality management
12. Relevance
13. Accuracy
14. Timeliness and punctuality
15. Coherence and comparability
16. Cost and Burden
17. Data revision
18. Statistical processing
19. Comment
Related Metadata
Annexes (including footnotes)

For any question on data and metadata, please contact: EUROPEAN STATISTICAL DATA SUPPORT


1. Contact Top
1.1. Contact organisation

Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Union

1.2. Contact organisation unit

E2: Environmental statistics and accounts; sustainable development

1.5. Contact mail address

2920 Luxembourg LUXEMBOURG

2. Metadata update Top
2.1. Metadata last certified 31/10/2018
2.2. Metadata last posted 31/10/2018
2.3. Metadata last update 31/10/2018

3. Statistical presentation Top
3.1. Data description

Yearly data on freshwater resources, water abstraction and use, connection rates of resident population to wastewater treatment, sewage sludge production and disposal, generation and discharge of wastewater collected biennially by means of the OECD/Eurostat Joint Questionnaire - Inland Waters. Data aggregation: national territories.

3.2. Classification system

The statistics are made according to the definitions of the OECD/Eurostat Joint Questionnaire, section ‘Inland Waters'.


Eurostat strives for further harmonisation with reporting frameworks under current/future European legislation, such as the Urban Wastewater treatment Directive (91/271/EEC) or the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC).

3.3. Coverage - sector

In principle all NACE sectors and private households are covered by the data set produced.

3.4. Statistical concepts and definitions

Collection and compilation of annual data on a diversity of topics, comprising the following data sets for every country:

  • Renewable freshwater resources;
  • Annual freshwater abstraction by source and by sector and other sources of water (marine and brackish water, desalinated water, reused water);
  • Water use by supply category, by sector and by industrial activities;
  • Resident population connected to wastewater collecting systems and to wastewater treatment plants;
  • Sewage sludge production and disposal;
  • Generation (by source and by sector) and discharge (by type and level of treatment) of wastewater.
  • See definitions
3.5. Statistical unit

Water resources, abstraction, use, and sewage sludge: n.a.

Connection of Resident population to wastewater treatment: the inhabitant

Generation and discharge of pollutants: for some parameters the enterprise, for some the wastewater treatment plant, for others n.a.

3.6. Statistical population

According to the parameter in question, Inland waters, water abstracted (withdrawn) from water resources, water used), resident population (with respect to wastewater treatment), sewage sludge (production and disposal), wastewater (generation and discharge)

3.7. Reference area

Data are collected for each Member State of the EU and EFTA, for EU candidate countries and for potential candidates. However, EU totals or averages are not yet calculated as there are too many gaps in the data due to the voluntary nature of reporting.

3.8. Coverage - Time

Depending on availability of data for different countries the period between 1970 - 2015 is covered

3.9. Base period

Not applicable!

4. Unit of measure Top

For water resources, water abstraction and water use: million m³

For population connected to sewer systems and wastewater treatment plants: % of resident population

For sewage sludge production and disposal: million kg (dry substance)

For wastewater generation and discharge:

  • Volume: million m³ / year
  • BOD and COD: 1000 kg O2 / day
  • Suspended solids, N, P: 1000 kg / day

5. Reference Period Top

The calendar year

6. Institutional Mandate Top
6.1. Institutional Mandate - legal acts and other agreements

The data collection is voluntary. Eurostat’s work on water statistics is covered by the European Statistical Programme.

6.2. Institutional Mandate - data sharing

The data collection is a common action of OECD and Eurostat.

Data are also shared with the European Environment Agency (EEA) and provided to the European Data Centre for Water (WISE). Data are as well used by the UN statistics Division and FAO.

7. Confidentiality Top
7.1. Confidentiality - policy

Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 on European statistics (recital 24 and Article 20(4)) of 11 March 2009 (OJ L 87, p. 164), stipulates the need to establish common principles and guidelines ensuring the confidentiality of data used for the production of European statistics and the access to those confidential data with due account for technical developments and the requirements of users in a democratic society.

7.2. Confidentiality - data treatment

Not applicable

8. Release policy Top
8.1. Release calendar

Not applicable

8.2. Release calendar access

Not applicable

8.3. Release policy - user access

In line with the Community legal framework and the European Statistics Code of Practice, Eurostat disseminates European statistics on Eurostat's website (see item 10 - 'Accessibility and clarity') respecting professional independence and in an objective, professional and transparent manner in which all users are treated equitably. The detailed arrangements are governed by the Eurostat protocol on impartial access to Eurostat data for users.

9. Frequency of dissemination Top

Major update of the database every two years according to the rhythm of data collection.

Corrections and revisions are disseminated to the public as soon as possible after becoming known.

10. Accessibility and clarity Top
10.1. Dissemination format - News release

not available

10.2. Dissemination format - Publications

- Statistics explained: section water statistics

- contribution to Eurostat Statistical Book on energy, transport and environment indicators

- contribution to Eurostat Yearbook

There is no regular publication dedicated just to water statistics. However data are used for the production of different Eurostat sample publications.

10.3. Dissemination format - online database

Please consult free data on-line or refer to contact details.

Data are disseminated free through Eurostat's website.

10.4. Dissemination format - microdata access

not applicable

10.5. Dissemination format - other

not applicable

10.6. Documentation on methodology

Documentation on the collection of the water data collection can be found in the manual for water statistics.

10.7. Quality management - documentation

Quality is assured by internal data validation processes for which public documentation is not yet available.

11. Quality management Top
11.1. Quality assurance

Quality is assured by internal data validation processes.

11.2. Quality management - assessment

Data are checked for logical consistency within the tables, in between tables, in between countries, as well as over time.

12. Relevance Top
12.1. Relevance - User Needs

DG Environment, DG Agri, DG JRC, DG Clima

EEA (European Environment Agency)

UN Statistics Division


European Court of Auditors

European Investment Bank

12.2. Relevance - User Satisfaction

No information available

12.3. Completeness

There are data gaps of different size and character for all participating countries.

13. Accuracy Top
13.1. Accuracy - overall

No information available

13.2. Sampling error

Not applicable

13.3. Non-sampling error

Not applicable

14. Timeliness and punctuality Top
14.1. Timeliness

In case of regular reporting, the time lag between the period covered by the data and publication of the data amounts up to 16 -18 months.

14.2. Punctuality

The data collection launched in 2016 had a response of 15 out of the 28 EU Member States by the deadline, another 8 countries reported within two months after the deadline.

15. Coherence and comparability Top
15.1. Comparability - geographical

In principle geographical comparability is good, but interpretability of country data is limited for some parameters due to aggregation of regional differences.

15.2. Comparability - over time

Comparability over time is generally good, but can be limited due to data gaps and breaks in series.

15.3. Coherence - cross domain

Data for sewage sludge treatment are also reported under the waste statistics Regulation but with limited comparability.

15.4. Coherence - internal

The internal coherence is high.

16. Cost and Burden Top

No information available

17. Data revision Top
17.1. Data revision - policy

The data are revised whenever a new questionnaire is filled in: historical data are pre-filled, and National Statistical Institutes are asked to revise their data and make corrections wherever necessary.

The questionnaire itself is revised after discussions at the meetings of the relevant OECD and Eurostat bodies. In doing so, Eurostat strives to keep the balance between consistency of time series and adaptation to the users' needs and to progress in science and technology.

17.2. Data revision - practice

Minor data revisions are done by some countries without regular frequency.

18. Statistical processing Top
18.1. Source data

The default operational source of the data is the National Statistical Institute on which no specific data collection method is imposed by Eurostat. In a few countries, collection of all or part of the data is delegated to other administrations, such as e.g. environment agencies operating under supervision of the ministry of the environment.

The data collection uses the "Joint OECD/Eurostat questionnaire on inland water (JQ-IW)"


18.2. Frequency of data collection

The data collection is done biennially by Eurostat, the frequency on national level depends on country and issue.

18.3. Data collection

National Statistical Institutes collect the data from a variety of data sources, including regional or local authorities, environmental administrations and industry. Where suitable and necessary, they apply own surveys and statistical estimation methods.

The data collection is done in even years when the T-1 and T-2 calendar years are requested, as well as gap-filling and corrections for earlier reference years.

Eurostat collects the data using questionnaires presented in tailor-made webforms. These webforms contain the 7 tables of the Joint Questionnaire and are released in the EDAMIS system (Eurostat single entry point). Supplementary information relevant for filling in the tables (e.g. data collection manual) is made available on Circabc for download by the Member States. The filled-in questionnaires are accessible by Eurostat within the EDAMIS system. Apart from the automatic EDAMIS monitoring files, a working file is kept up-to-date to monitor the incoming replies.

Following data is collected for every country:

  • Renewable fresh water resources;
  • Annual fresh water abstraction by source and by sector and other sources of water (marine and brackish water, desalinated water, reused water);
  • Water use by supply category, by sector and by industrial activities;
  • Resident population connected to wastewater collecting systems and to wastewater treatment plants;
  • Sewage sludge production and disposal;
  • Generation (by source and by sector) and discharge (by type of collecting system) of wastewater
18.4. Data validation

Data is filled in a tailor-made database (WATERSOURCE in MDT), and Eurostat checks the data for plausibility, e.g. for logical consistency in several dimensions and for unusual changes in time series. All detected problems are reported and treated in close collaboration with the National Statistical Institutes and/or the relevant experts in the countries. Once validation is done, the data are uploaded into Eurobase. 

The data validation is done following the validation levels 0 to 3 and partly level 5, as proposed in the VIP Validation project. Some basic quality checks in the file itself, intra-file checks, as well as comparison with other files referring to the same statistical domain followed by "intra-domain and intra-source checks" are of relevance: it includes revision checks, time series checks and inter-dataset checks, as well as some mirror checks.

Validation level 4 is not of use for us, but validation level 5 is partly used for some data checking with our partners outside the Institution (eg. EAA).

18.5. Data compilation

Eurostat calculates some indicators, e.g. "per capita" values, and water statistics are used in the indicator sets for the assessment of sustainable develoment and resource effciency.

18.6. Adjustment

Not applicable

19. Comment Top

Explanatory footnotes provided by the countries are not directly available via Eurostat's dissemination database. The content is made accessible via the metadata Annex sheet (in preparation).

Related metadata Top

Annexes Top