Why is the Water Framework Directive important?

DateJun 25, 2021
AuthorPatrick Hepple
Categories

The UK’s health, economy and environment rely on clean water. Cleaner rivers, lakes and groundwater should therefore be one of our priorities, however it is not. In fact, our waterways are becoming more polluted every year. In 2020, a Defra report found that every single river and lake in England was polluted beyond legal limits. Not one river was free from toxic chemicals from past and present industry. Furthermore, just 16% of our waters (14% of rivers) met the criteria for ‘good ecological status1. As our population increases and the effects of climate change are becoming more apparent, this is having a further detrimental impact on our water quality. The UK has to accept that we are failing our waterways and this is going to impact us significantly in the future. 

As the quality of our waters across the UK are in such bad condition, it is now more essential than ever to monitor the quality of our water. However, often water quality data is out of date and not fit for purpose. England and Wales has legislation in place for the protection of inland surface waters, estuaries, coastal waters and groundwater. This is known as the Water Framework Directive (WFD). It originates from the European Union (EU) but has been retained in UK law following the UK’s exit from Europe. Its core principles are to prevent the deterioration of the UK’s water environment and to improve water quality.

The objective of the WFD is to bring the standard of all European water bodies to good chemical status. The directive is implemented through river basin management planning processes. 

The river basin planning process involves setting environmental objectives for all groundwater and surface waters (including estuaries and coastal waters) within the river basin district, and devising programmes of measuring so it can be recorded. Groundsure is the only company which is utilising this data. 

The Groundure Insight provides information on WFD surface water body catchments, surface water bodies and groundwater bodies. For each water body we provide the water body ID along with various ratings. Each report is also provided with a hyperlink for the individual water body, taking you directly to the appropriate page on the relevant website. This allows a seamless transition between report and website where further information is required. This includes catchment information, water body assessments and links to the relevant page on the Environment Agency catchment explorer, if required. Groundsure's inclusion of WFD data fills a gap in the reporting of water quality and catchment implications for site assessments, it will quickly highlight the quality of water on your site and save you time.

  1. https://www.endsreport.com/article/1694741/englands-rivers-fail-meet-legal-water-quality-standards