Water Framework Directive (WFD)

The Water Framework Directive (WFD), which entered into force in December 2000, establishes a Community framework for water protection and management in order to prevent and reduce pollution, promote sustainable water use, protect the aquatic environment, improve the status of aquatic ecosystems and mitigate the effects of floods and droughts.

Its main focus is the establishment of a strategy for dealing with chemical pollution of water. The Directive identified a priority list of 33 substances in the field of Water Policy. This aims at ensuring a high level of protection against risks to the aquatic environment coming from these 33 priority substances by establishing environmental quality standards (EQS).

The environmental quality standards aim at limiting the quantity of certain chemical substances that pose a significant risk to the environment or to health in surface water in the EU. These standards would be coupled with an inventory of discharges, emissions and losses in order to ascertain whether the goals of reducing or eliminating such pollution have been achieved.

Out of the 33 substances included in the WFD some will be monitored or reviewed for identification as potentially hazardous substances, while others were identified as hazardous substances to be phased out in 20 years. Octa-BDE & Deca-BDE are listed among the substances to be monitored, while Penta-BDE is the only BFR listed as a hazardous substance. No other BFR is listed.

By the end of 2009, a management plan and programme of measures must be produced for each river basin district, taking account of the results of the analyses and studies carried out.

From 2010, Member States must ensure that water pricing policies provide adequate incentives for users to use water resources efficiently and that the various economic sectors contribute to the recovery of the costs of water services, including those relating to the environment and resources.