The Water Framework Directive (WFD) was adopted in 2000 and envisaged a long implementation process leading to the adoption of River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs), which describe the actions envisaged to implement the Directive.

The assessment of the preparation and implementation of these RBMPs has already been the subject of 5 Commission implementation reports, in 2007, 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2019.

The requirements and goals of the WFD are closely linked to the work of water management organizations. More information about the EUWMA position on the future of the WFD can be found in the Frankfurt Declaration from 2017.

More information on the Water Framework Directive

In November 2012, the European Commission published its 3rd implementation report on the WFD, the Blueprint to Safeguard Europe’s Waters. The aim of the Blueprint was to identify excessive burdens, overlaps, gaps, inconsistencies and/or obsolete measures which may have appeared over time. Pilot exercises were started in 2010 in 4 areas: environment, transport, employment & social policy, and industrial policy. In the area of environment, the protection of EU freshwater resources has been selected as the pilot area.

On 9 March 2015 the European Commission submitted an interim report to the European Parliament and the Council on implementation of this Directive. The report included a review of progress on the implementation of the Programmes of Measures planned by member states in their RBMPs.

The interim report is based on the analysis of the reports submitted by member states in accordance with Article 15.3 of the WFD and provides suggestions for improving future Programmes of Measures to be added to the update of the RBMPs, due at the latest by 22 December 2015. To identify and build on existing synergies with the Floods Directive (FD), the report also includes a section on the assessment of the FD’s implementation.

On 19 June 2018 the European Environment Agency published an Assessment of status and pressures in the European Waters. Even though the report shows much progress and investments have been made, more improvement is needed to reach good status of the European waters by 2027. The publication of Commission assessment of the implementation of the second RBMPs confirm this conclusion and provided the member states with recommendations for improvement.

Fitness check of the Water Framework Directive
In 2018, the European Commission started the fitness check of the WFD. This included several stakeholder workshops and a public consultation which EUWMA responded to. It is expected that the results of the evaluation will be published before the end of 2019. By then the Commission will make clear whether or not they will come up with a proposal for the revision of the WFD.