The Water Framework Directive
The Water Framework Directive (WFD) brought a completely new ecological and river basin perspective into water management practices, thus WWF Hungary has been monitoring and assisting the introduction of the WFD in Hungary since our accession to the EU. Besides taking nature conservation aspects into consideration, WFD also requires the involvement of stakeholders via public consultation, in solving the major water management issues.
In 2000, the European Union gave a new frame for the management of freshwaters, which led to an entirely new ecological and catchment perspective. The Water Framework Directive‘s main objective is to maintain the conditions of rivers, streams, lakes and ground waters along with improving the ecological, quantitative and qualitative conditions of the water, where needed. In order to achieve this goal, all EU Member States have to prepare river basin management plans that reflect the European community’s expectations, and the society plays a significant role in their development.
Requirements concerning the good ecological conditions of waters clearly benefit for the floodplain forests, reed beds, meadows and their flora and fauna. People living beside the rivers, streams and lake shores can also feel the positive effects.
The area left in its natural state barely touched by human interventions, provides a good water quality stream for swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and a more pleasant environment for sunbathing. Cleaner drinking water resources and more rich catch of fish for those living near the shore are also added value of natural waters.
Restoring and improving the conditions of the habitat entails many obligations for stakeholders. Goals could only be achieved if wastewater treatment systems were developed, less fertilizers and chemicals are used during agricultural production, floodplain forests are maintained in their natural status and rivers are not channelized into narrow floodplains between flood protection dykes. This is why stakeholder involvement into the planning process is crucial important. Joint solutions need to be developed together in order to improve the ecological conditions, to find approaches that are approved by local communities and stakeholders without using an excessive amount of the limited financial resources.All European countries face difficulties during the implementation of the WFD. The introduction of a modern approach is not easy, but for the use and preservation of our natural environmental capabilities all countries have to realise that water needs to be protected for being a natural treasure and a resource. During the WFD’s six-year planning periods, EU Member States need to revalue how they treat such a natural treasure.
The interests of the future generations need to be bear in mind when water management plans, water related programmes and further investments are developed. WWF‘s goal in the Danube catchment is that the program of measures of river baisn management plans are to be implemented. Moreover, that all relevant sectors (flood risk management, forest management, nature conservation) are fully aware of the RBMPs‘ details in order to develop and implement new projects in cooperation with each other. Our watercourses shouldn’t be channels pushed between very close dykes. They should be living rivers with wide floodplains, where local communities could exploit the services offered by the water resources and the natural environment.