EPPA Working Group
Category: Water

EU water protection policies aim to provide a wide range of environmental protection measures. Until the adoption of the Water Framework Directive in 2000 EU policies were generally quite specific in the issues they addressed.


Firstly, during seventies, a number of Directives laid down water quality objectives for specific types of water (such as Bathing Water and Drinking Water Directives) or established emission limit values for specific water uses (e.g. Dangerous Substances Directive). In the Water Quality Objective (WQO) approach, minimum quality requirements of water are defined in order to limit the cumulative impact due to point and diffuse sources of emissions. In the Emission Limit Value (ELV) approach, focus is on the maximum allowed quantities of pollutants that may be discharged from a particular source into waters, especially at the end of a process (such as from urban or industrial waste water treatment). The second period of new water legislation (1980-1991) mainly followed the ELV approach with respect to water pollution control at the source, both from point and from diffuse sources, through the introduction of major new Directives, including the Nitrates Directive, the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directives, the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive, as well as several Daughter Directives implementing the Dangerous Substances Directive. The result of the major revision of EU water policy brought a more co-ordinated EU water legislation, specifically the adoption of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) 2000/60/EC. The WFD provides a framework for the protection of all water bodies and is based on a combined approach of WQOs and ELVs.

The following activities are foreseen:

  • Support to increased participation and involvement of the relevant beneficiaries in the implementation of EUSDR and EUAIR
  • Strengthening of capacities for the implementation of MSFD and the issue of managing marine litter
  • Support to the implementation of Barcelona convention
  • Building on the outcomes and recommendations of the previous assistance in the area (RENA and ECRAN), continued support to the land-locked beneficiaries for transposition and implementation of the legislation in the water sector



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