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Freshwater protection: EU policy and the status of freshwater systems

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Freshwater ecosystems are particularly rich in biodiversity and fulfill important ecosystem services.

However, the continuing presence of pollutants still raises concerns for public health, as well as for nature conservation.

Surface water bodies and groundwater alike are threatened by synthetic and also naturally occurring substances that can have a negative impact on the aquatic environment and on human health. Increased temperature and over-abstraction of water are further causes for concern.

Meanwhile, heavy modifications to the natural flow and physical changes to water bodies can also cause serious disturbances to water ecosystems.

With the Water Framework Directive (WFD), the EU adopted comprehensive legislation for the protection of water within the EU. Under the directive, Member States are required to achieve good status in all bodies of surface water and groundwater by 2015, or 2027 at the latest.

Unfortunately, despite considerable improvements in water quality, this goal was not achieved by the end of 2015 as hoped.

Author: Anne Altmayer    Published: February 2017    pdf  Download

SOURCE: European Parliament