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Legislation  (*)  

(*) related to the HUMAN USAGE chapter of FYR Checklist

European legislation

National or country-specific laws regulate the management of water resources (questions 1d-e-f-h-i, 2 c-d, 4 d-e, 8-9 of Human usage); however, the European Community (EC) sets the principles, through supra-national regulations, to which all the Countries must conform. The following are some of these European dispositions about water: water quality for human consumption (80/778), potable water (98/83), disposal of urban sewage treatment (91/271), protection of waters from pollution caused by nitrates from agriculture and by dangerous substances from dumping and landfills, and water quality standards for fish and shellfish.

Water Framework Directive (2000/60)

One of the most recent and significant EC regulations is the directive establishing a framework for community action in the field of water policy (2000/60), which requires  the protection of internal surface waters, transitional waters, costal and subterraneouswaters. This regulation must be implemented by optimising the use of resources and integrating the different regulations for water. A management plan for every watershed in accordance with an environmental policy which considers the water cycle rather than the administrative borders of provinces, regions, or states is the fundamental requirement behind this legislation. Furthermore, this regulation promotes a sustainable use of water reserves, which is based on the long-term protection of available water resources. It aims at avoiding risks to the health and safety of people (social aspect), provides an efficient access of people and production activities to resources (economic aspect) and protects the resources and maintains their environmental functions (environmental aspect and ground of fairness between generations). The Member States are requested: to check the environmental impact of human activities, to analyse the economic aspects of the exploitation of water, to monitor the surface and underground waters and of protected areas, as well as to take the necessary measures to avoid the deterioration of the water basins and to involve all the parties concerned in this process (water management).

With the Water Notes for implementation of the water Framework Directive, the EU has provided tools easy to read and to understand, explaining the main guidelines lying behind the Directive itself.

They are available at

Water Note 1: Joining Forces for Europe’s Shared waters: Coordination in international river basin district

Water Note 2: Cleaning up Europe’s waters: identifying and assessing surface water bodies at risk

Water Note 3: Groundwater at risk: managing the water under us

Water Note 4: Reservoirs, Canals and Ports: managing artificial and heavily modified water bodies

Water Note 5: Economics in Water Policy: the value of Europe’s waters

Water Note 6: Monitoring programmes: taking the pulse of Europe’s waters

Water Note 7: Intercalibration: A common scale for Europe’s waters

Water Note 8: Pollution: reducing dangerous chemicals in Europe’s waters

Water Note 9: Integrating water policy: Linking all EU water legislation within a single framework

Water Note 10: Climate change: addressing floods, droughts and changing aquatic ecosystems

Water Note 11: From the rivers to the see: Linking with the new Marine Strategy Framework Directive

Water Note 12: A Common Task: public participation in River Basin Management Planning