To What Extent Have the Problems of Water Management

To What Extent Have the Problems of Water Management and Pollution in the EU Been Addressed?


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In both Northern and Southern Europe, there has been a really noticeable lessening in the figure of natural rivers with integral riparian land, with “57 % of Europe’s 89,000 kilometer long coastal zones” being utilized for “agricultural, industrial or urban purposes” , ( EEA 2003 ; cited in Scheuer, undated ) . The new EU Water Framework Directive describes the current position of the EU Waterss as worse than expected ( mention to Figure 1 below ) , with the existent low per centum of H2O organic structures run intoing the aims set by the Water Framework Directive, ( Commission of the European Communities, 2007 ) . Furthermore, the Directive explains that the high “at risk” values are closely linked with dumbly populated countries with intensive and unsustainable H2O usage. These countries are prone to the effects of unsustainable H2O usage such as: pollution, physical debasement of aquatic ecosystems and overuse of H2O. Harmonizing to the Commission of the European Communities ( 2007 p. 5 ) , the chief drive forces behind the above-named environmental force per unit areas are “industry, families, agribusiness, pilotage, hydropower, inundation protection and urban development” .

Beginning: Commission of the European Communities

The European Union’s effectual medium of turn toing jobs of H2O quality and handiness remainders on an expeditiously working H2O direction docket. Water direction is concerned with bettering entree to, and the efficient usage of, H2O ” , ( Allan, 1996, p. 6 ) . Such ends are of import in the betterment of the volume of goods produced by heightening the handiness of H2O “ and will besides better its productiveness by increasing the returns to H2O by, for illustration, using H2O more expeditiously to water harvests “ , ( Allan, 1996, p. 6 ) . Porter ( 1978 p. 19, cited in Washbourne & A ; Dicke, 2001 ) , claims that H2O direction involves activities such as land drainage ; H2O supply and sewerage ; flood bar ; and river direction.

This paper evaluates the extent by which H2O direction and pollution in the European Union have been addressed. First, it will explicate the jobs of H2O direction and pollution in the European Union. Then, it will show the extent by which these jobs have been addressed. Finally, it will show the decision drawn from the critical analysis of the issue at manus through the synthesis of available literature.

Water Management and Pollution Problems in the European Union

1. Water Pollution and Extraction Problems

Louka ( 2004 ) , claims that H2O pollution occurs in the Waterss of Europe, due to taint by risky substances generated by industry. These pollutants include heavy metals, pesticides, gasoline and assorted other substances. Furthermore, “untreated effluent is one of Europe’s worst environmental problems” , ( Louka, 2004, p. 163 ) . He farther explains that diffuse nitrate pollution affects 800,000 people in France and 850,000 people in the UK who are imbibing H2O with nitrate concentrations good above the allowed values set by Community criterions. An evident “lack of controls on point beginnings of pollutant discharges — chiefly sewage intervention workss — has contributed to the debasement of surface H2O quality in Central and Eastern Europe ” , ( Paulsen, 1994, p. 39 ) . Furthermore, municipal effluent intervention has merely been implemented in Sweden and Switzerland in the 1970’s, while many EU states such as Belgium, “hardly handle their effluents at all.” ( Howsam & A ; Carter, 1996, p. 181 ) .

In add-on to H2O quality jobs, the handiness of H2O in sufficient measure besides affects Europe, particularly Southern Europe, where H2O deficit becomes a common happening. Additionally, “particularly for groundwater, over-use can non merely take down the H2O tabular array and damage the aquifer but besides lead to the invasion of salt H2O into coastal aquifers, doing their loss as a beginning of imbibing or irrigation water” , ( European Commission, 1996b, p. 4 ; cited in ( Grant, Newell & A ; Matthews, 2000, p. 155 ) . In fact, Scheuer ( dateless ) , asserts that on many islands of Southern Europe, there are already incidences of seawater invasion into the depleted belowground aquifers, due to irrigation and touristry, in add-on to metropolis supply. He adds that H2O development index has become less desirable since 1980, with a 20 % addition in irrigated country since 1985 ; and a 19 % addition in the sum of allocated irrigation H2O per hectare from 1993-1999, ( refer to Figure 2 below ) .

Figure 2

Water development index. Entire H2O abstraction per twelvemonth as per centum of long-run fresh water resources in 1990 and 2002

Beginning: hypertext transfer protocol: // id=1114

2. Water Management Problem

Water direction jobs particularly in the industrial societies in Europe, focal point on the complexness of H2O systems, their design, execution and monitoring. Furthermore, the direction of H2O resources is undertaken through assorted administrative and proficient establishments ; every bit good as “the frequent crossing of national borders” and therefore, requires the harmonisation of informations across administrative and political entities” , ( Vogt, undated ; cited in Bedford, 2004 ) . For illustration, the H2O companies exist under a European umbrella organisation called Eureau, which “represents their involvements by, for illustration, trying to guarantee that what comes out of the Framework Directive is operable ” ( Washbourne & A ; Dicke, 2001 ) . Water services are regulated under the European Union, whereby each member state has to vouch that its H2O industry performs in conformity with the Torahs under the relevant European Directives, ( Washbourne & A ; Dicke, 2001 ) . Furthermore, Grant and co-workers ( 2000, p. 84 ) , explain that “the increasing incursion of EU-level establishments into national legal and administrative model has created a new institutional environment” . Although most H2O directives are promulgated at the European degree, they are implemented at the national, subnational and local degrees. Therefore, since “implementation is in the custodies of the member provinces and those in charge of the activity being regulated” , effectual enforcement required the “active cooperation of the member province, its administrative capacity and the cooperation of those being regulated” , ( Grant, et Al, 2000, p. 3 ) .

Within the context of H2O policy instruments or directives, there was a job of incorporating the attacks used in implementing such directives. A authoritative illustration is the Dangerous Substances Directive, which was implemented to command surface H2O pollution by necessitating “member provinces to command emanations of all unsafe substances listed in the extension of the Directive” , ( Grant, et Al, 2000, p. 161 ) . The control mechanisms are licenses, issued to industrial installings which may merely be obtained by improved intervention of urban waste H2O. Member provinces, nevertheless, were given a pick between an environmental quality criterions ( EQS ) attack and an emanation bound values ( ELV ) attack. Harmonizing to Somsen ( 1990, p. 93 ; cited in Grant et al. , 2000 ) , “the fact that H2O Directives have allowed member provinces to take between their preferable attack of pollution control can be attributed to a political via media that resulted in both the quality criterions and the emanation limits attacks being retained” . This is non regarded as an ideal attack, because while emanation bounds can potentially bring on unneeded investings without significant benefit to the environment, ( Matthews and Pickering, 1997, p. 265 ; cited in Grant et al. , 2000 ) ; the quality criterions attack, on the other manus, can be used as a ‘license to pollute’ up to a defined degree ( European Commission, 1996b ; cited in Grant et al. , 2000 ) .

Central to the attainment of H2O direction aims is the preparation and successful execution of policy instruments. Policy instruments have efficaciously addressed EU’s H2O direction issues in a assortment of ways. European Legislation formulates and implements policies that revolve around many issues sing H2O direction and allotment, including resource usage and preservation. Scheuer, ( dateless, p. 129 ) , maintains that:

the first moving ridge of statute law took topographic point from 1975 to 1980, ensuing in a figure of directives which either lay down environmental quality criterions ( EQS ) for specific types of H2O, like the Surface Water, Fish Water, Shellfish Water, Bathing Water and Drinking Water Directives, or established emanation controls and emanation bound values ( ELV ) for specific H2O uses, like the Dangerous Substances Directive and the Groundwater Directive.

Therefore, it followed a double attack that led to a extremely disconnected H2O statute law which resulted in execution jobs, ( Scheuer, undated ) . From 1980 to 1991, the 2nd moving ridge of statute law was implemented. These policy instruments although less comprehensive, included: a. the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive and ; b. the Nitrates Directive, together with several girl directives that covered the Dangerous Substances Directive. However, Scheuer ( dateless ) , maintains that there was a failure in the full execution and enforcement of the assorted H2O protection directives in the prescribed mode or by the prescribed deadline. Additionally, the set aims were non efficaciously attained. He farther claims that within the period of 1998 – 2004, the European Court of Justice found 13 Member States guilty for non-compliance with H2O statute law in 54 instances refering 10 Directives. Furthermore, “during the first moving ridge of H2O statute law, Member States were non obliged to describe in full item on any advancement in implementing and permuting EU H2O legislation” , ( Scheuer, undated, p. 130 ) . As stipulated in the Council Directive 91/692/EEC of December 1991, on Standardizing and Rationalising Reports on the Implementation of Certain Directives Relating to the Environment, it becomes the duty of the Member States to describe in item their execution of environmental directives. As a consequence, there was a crisp addition in the figure of instances against Member States that were brought before the European Court of Justice by the Commission, ( Scheuer, undated ) .

The Way Forward

The new EU Water Framework Directive, which came to coerce in December, 2000, requires all inland and coastal Waterss to make “good status” by 2015. Under this Directive, a river basin territory construction will be established within which environmental aims will be set, ( Defra, 2001 ) . A major focal point of this Directive is the incorporate attack to H2O direction, through its holistic river-basin direction. This attack recognizes that H2O quality and measure is mostly controlled by the status of the catchments, ( Wainwright & A ; Thornes, 2004, p. 406 ) . It highlights the demand to cut down diffuse pollution, peculiarly from agribusiness ; and better river home grounds ensuing from increased fertiliser application and the mechanisation of farming. The Directive besides provides for the relief of “ of low flows that can take to serious H2O pollution of passing channel beds, which are used as waste depositories ” ( Wainwright & A ; Thornes, 2004, p. 406 ) . The Directive to boot prescribes a timetable for the programme, “indicating that proper pricing policies should be in topographic point ten old ages from the passage of the directive. When enacted and carried through, this directive will hold a major impact on H2O resources and H2O usage” , ( Wainwright & A ; Thornes, 2004, p. 406 ) . Therefore, the environmental aims of the Water Framework Directive centre on the followers: a combined attack of emanation bound values and quality criterions ; H2O direction based on river basins ; spread outing the range of H2O protection to all Waterss, surface Waterss and groundwater ; acquiring the monetary values right ; acquiring the citizen involved more closely ; streamlining statute law ; and H2O direction based on river basins, ( WISE, 2007 ) .

1. The New Water Framework Directive Effectively Addresses Water Pollution and Extraction Problems

One of the major H2O direction and pollution suspension aims under the Water Framework Directive is environmental protection, whereby “the integrated and ecologically oriented appraisal of the surface H2O position with its matching aims, are the cardinal instruments” , ( Scheuer, undated, p.131 ) . The overall aim of achieving a ‘good status’ for all Waterss by December 2015 covers both surface Waterss and groundwater under an integrative attack. Under the Directive, ‘good status’ for surface Waterss encompasses good ecological and good chemical position ; whereby the ecological position is determined by biological, hydro-morphological and physico-chemical quality elements. The point of mention is the biological parametric quantities found in undisturbed Waterss, ( Scheuer, undated, p.131 ) . Alternatively, a ‘good status’ for groundwater is identified by a good chemical and a good quantitative position. A good quantitative position is attained when the rate of groundwater extraction is less than the rate of recharge go forthing to boot sufficient available H2O for both surface Waterss and groundwater –dependent ecosystems. A ‘good chemical status’ , on the other manus, is attained with the accomplishment of the set H2O quality criterions. The accomplishment of the above-named environmental aims should subscribe to the ‘integrative approach’ “which extends current chemical quality marks to H2O measure, habitat quality and biological targets” , ( Scheuer, undated, p. 131 ) . The procedure, nevertheless, is extremely complex, due to the subjectiveness attached to what constitutes a ‘good status’ , which would ensue in different readings among Member States. The New Water Framework Directive resolves this subjectiveness through its proviso of assorted safety cyberspaces. Harmonizing to Scheuer ( dateless, p. 133 ) :

It does non trust entirely on biological quality elements but requires the scene of quality criterions for specific pollutants and general physico-chemical parametric quantities ( e.g. temperature, O, foods ) in a lawfully binding manner and requires appraisal of hydro morphological ( e.g. flow kineticss, substrate, tide ) elements to back up the ecological criterion.

Furthermore, a “one out – all out principle” is applied to all biological, physico-chemical and hydro morphological parametric quantities “defining good position, which means that the worst quality component determines the overall status” , ( Scheuer, undated, p. 133 ) . To guarantee that the national ecological appraisal systems of Member States are aligned with the normative definitions of the Water Framework Directive and its criterion values, an intercalibration procedure has been instituted.

2. The New Water Framework Directive Effectively Addresses Water Management Problems

The New Water Framework Directive utilizes a river basin attack that requires a elaborate and iterative planning procedure ; and the puting up of administrative agreements. Harmonizing to ( Scheuer, undated, p.143 ) , it requires each river basin territory to hold, inter alia:

  • A list of protected countries ( Article 6 ) .
  • A map of monitoring Stationss ( Article 8 ) .
  • A description and word picture of the river basin, including environmental appraisals of human activities, economic appraisal of H2O utilizations, description of pollution beginnings and hazard analysis of neglecting to achieve the set environmental aims ( Article 5 ) .
  • A list of environmental aims and freedoms established for surface and groundwater ( Article 4 )
  • Measures to accomplish cost recovery for H2O services and to implement the ‘polluter pays principle’ ( Article 9 ) .
  • Programme of steps ( prior- mandates, prohibitions or other general binding regulations ) and specific extra steps to accomplish the environmental aims ( Article 11 ) .

With regard to international river basins, Member States are required to “ensure coordination and cooperation with the purpose of bring forthing one individual international river basin plan” , ( Scheuer, undated, p.143 ) .

In the context of economic instruments, the New Water Framework Directive requires Member States to explicate H2O pricing policies for H2O utilizations in order to ease the attainment of the environmental aims and to implement a cost recovery for H2O services, taking environmental and resources costs into consideration, ( Scheuer, undated, p.144 ) . In order to back up this peculiar proviso, Member States are required to guarantee: a. that their H2O pricing policy is an inducement for an effectual use of H2O and that it contributes to the attainment of the environmental aims ; b a sufficient part for the different H2O uses to the recovery of the cost of H2O services, ( Scheuer, undated, p.144 ) . The Directive besides encourages public engagement as a response to the European Union’s strong docket of transparence and public engagement. Therefore, H2O direction in this context, becomes a joint social attempt that encourages the active engagement of all interested parties in its execution.


The Commission of the European Communities ( 2007 ) , claims that a big figure of H2O organic structures across Europe are at hazard of being overexploited and polluted due to overextraction ensuing from metropolis supply, irrigation and touristry ; and the release of pollutants from both point and non-point beginnings, severally. As a consequence, H2O direction and pollution have become major environmental concerns that need to be efficaciously addressed. The new Water Framework Directive was formulated and came to coerce in December 2000, as a response to the demand for the protection of both the physical and biological unity of aquatic ecosystems. It efficaciously addresses H2O direction and pollution jobs by necessitating all Member States to achieve a ‘good status’ in footings of ecological and chemical position of surface Waterss and groundwater. It provides assorted safety-nets to efficaciously accomplish the set environmental aims. Additionally, it requires Member States to implement a river basin planning attack which facilitates H2O direction holistically ; and just H2O pricing policies for H2O utilizations. Finally, it encourages active engagement of all Member States in its execution, in support of the European Union’s strong docket of transparence.


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  2. Bedford, M. , 2004. GIS for H2O direction in Europe. Redlands, California: ESRI Press.
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  6. Grant, W. , Newell, P. , & A ; Matthews, D. , 2000. The Effectiveness of European Union Environmental Policy. New York: St. Martin ‘s Press.
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  8. Paulsen, C. M. , 1994. Cost-efficient Control of Water Pollution in Central and Eastern Europe. In Pollution Abatement Strategies in Central and Eastern Europe, Toman, M. A. ( Ed. ) ( pp. 39-47 ) . Washington, DC: Resources for the Future.
  9. Scheuer, S. , Undated. Chapter IV.5 Water. Puting the aims, marks and timetables: Sectoral Legislation. Available from: hypertext transfer protocol: // [ Accessed: 15 August 2007 ] .
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  11. Washbourne, N. , & A ; Dicke, W. , 2001. Dissolving Organization Theory: A Narrative Analysis of Water Management. International Studies of Management & A ; Organization, 31 ( 3 ) , 91+ .
  12. WISE, 2007. Introduction to the new EU Water Framework Directive. Water Information System for Europe. Available signifier: hypertext transfer protocol: // [ Accessed: 15 August 2007 ] .
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