Water Framework Directive WFD Swedish Society for Nature Conservation Water framework directive is a European law which aims at good water status in Europe. The law was taken in 2000 and the implementation takes 15 years. It is a great challenge to the governments to change all national laws in accordance with this directive.
WFD-implementation Swedish Society for Nature Conservation River basin management Laws Public participation Characterisations Polluter Pays Principle
Water body characterizations Swedish Society for Nature Conservation All waters of a certain size, which differs between countries, are in the process of being characterized according to some sort of classification system. Generally in relation to the degree of disturbance of good ecological status.
River basin management Swedish Society for Nature Conservation WFD has introduced a new management for water which follows the river basins. This has required the establishment of new authorities in the EU countries. It has also initiated transboundary cooperation.
Public participation Swedish Society for Nature Conservation One of the key issues of this directive is public participation, as it is not possible to implement WFD without consensus. Access to information is necessary and representatives of different stakeholders should be able to take part in the decisions.
Good ecological status Swedish Society for Nature Conservation WFD is a unique document where the ecology is put in the centre. Defining criteria for good ecological status has been a great obstacle during the period of characterisation which is supposed to be finished in March 2005.
Classification Swedish Society for Nature Conservation There are classifications in different levels of water status, from good to heavily modified water bodies. The ambition is that modified waters should be restored into good status.
Polluter Pays Principle, PPP Swedish Society for Nature Conservation According to WFD the water user shall pay the costs for the damage. Water bodies that have got the characterisation heavily modified are on one hand subject to restoration, but on the other hand they have a weaker legal position when the cost for the damage is decided. The costs are related to the status of the water.
PPP in practice Swedish Society for Nature Conservation When waters in the future are subject to new disturbance, like hydropower, industry, road construction, water extraction and irrigation etc, the water user has to pay for the damage and the restoration in relation to the classification which has been previously agreed upon.
Heavily modified water bodies Swedish Society for Nature Conservation NGOs in Europe have tried to watch out for waters classified as heavily modified water bodies, HMVB, as these waters are likely to be given less protection in the water courts in case of new hazardous instalments. This might conflict with restoration plans developed by local communities.
Delayed process Swedish Society for Nature Conservation The classification process has been subject to a certain delay, as most countries want to find out where the other countries set their priorities. They will not undertake too heavy costs when others won’t.
Need for good examples Swedish Society for Nature Conservation We need countries that can show examples of best practice, which other countries can learn from. We are in a situation of economic slowdown in Europe and the priorities given to the environment are not so high any more.
Peoples involvement Swedish Society for Nature Conservation The WFD is very expensive to implement. The involvement of the people is one key concern of the directive. But it is not clear how to establish real public participation.
A successful case Swedish Society for Nature Conservation Schleswig-Holstein is a very water bound region, with farming, industry and tourism. S-H has two coastlines, both the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. 70% of S-H is farming area. WFD will especially affect farming practices, and farming activities may be restricted.
Cooperation with local people Swedish Society for Nature Conservation Both local people and NGOs have been involved in the implementation process together with governmental authorities. Farmers realise that they will have to accept restrictions because they understand the importance for the region of good ecological water status.
Taxes financing WFD Swedish Society for Nature Conservation S-H has a local eco-tax, which means that they have to pay for every drop of water. 40 million euros a year is collected through this environmental tax on water. And these money is needed in order to implement the WFD which is very expensive.