Euro-Mediterranean Information System on know-how in the Water sector
International portal


The EU Water Framework Directive (a new scheme for integrated river basin management)

The"Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework for the Community action in the field of water policy" was adopted on 23 October 2000. It is generally referred to as the EU Water Framework Directive (or WFD).

Since the implementation of the WFD resides fully within the competence of individual Member States, it was recognised that a common approach to some of these challenges would allow the sharing of expertise, information, experience and resources whilst facilitating, as far as possible, a coherent and harmonious implementation of the Directive. A Common Implementation Strategy (CIS) was thus agreed in May 2001 between the Member States, Norway and the European Commission. The aim of the Common Implementation Strategy (CIS) is to allow, as far as possible, the coherent implementation of the Water Framework Directive, whilst focusing on methodological questions relating to achieving a common understanding of the technical and scientific implications of the Directive.  Guidance documents, recommendations for operational methods and other supporting information may be developed, but the implementation of the Directive will be the responsibility of the Member State. As such, these documents are informal and not legally binding in character, but should limit any risks associated with the application of the Directive.

Some of the elements of the new and innovative approach to managing Europe's water resources in the WFD are:
  • ambitious objectives and clear deadlines
  • the introduction of river basin management on a Europe-wide scale
  • the requirement for cross border cooperation in water management between countries and all involved parties
  • pollution prevention and control on the basis of the so-called "combined approach"
  • greater public participation in water management
  • economic analysis of water use.

The WFD is a legislative framework to protect and improve the quality of all water resources such as rivers, lakes, groundwater, transitional and coastal water within the European Union.


5th Mediterranean Water Forum


Folder WFD background
Folder About CIS
Folder Steps
Folder Objectives
Folder Documents
Folder Legislation
Folder Examples
Folder Links
URL Text of the Water Framework Directive
URL The EU Water Framework Directive - integrated river basin management for Europe
URL The Water Framework Directive at GMES website
URL WISE-RTD The WISE-RTD webportal forwards to websites with focus on information relevant for the implementation of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD).