The absolute decoupling of nutrient emissions from the domestic sector and population growth, over a period of almost two decades (1990-2011), is observed in fourteen countries (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Greece, Finland, Ireland, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia and Turkey). The actual extent of decoupling, and the differences in trends among countries, may be partially explained by the different numbers of inhabitants connected to tertiary wastewater treatment technologies.
When making an EU wide comparison of the extent of decoupling of nutrient emissions from population growth, the actual proportion of the population connected to different types of wastewater treatment (elaborated in indicator CSI 024 ) and the completeness of data available on the population connected to collecting systems without treatment should be taken into consideration. The implementation status of the Urban Waste Water treatment Directive (UWWTD), which protects the water environment from the adverse effects of discharges of urban waste water, as well as the level of investment in water and wastewater management, may have an impact. Similarly, the implementation status of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and Groundwater Directive may also have an impact. Furthermore household patterns and household income level affect the production and composition of wastewater and should also be considered.
It is assumed that the use of actual data on loads discharged from wastewater treatment plants, combined with the load values calculated for the population not connected to wastewater treatment, would add value to the decoupling indicator as it would better reflect the real situation.
Data and maps
Emission intensity of the domestic sector in Europe
The map shows the mean annual concentration of total phosphorus (TP), expressed as milligrams of TP per litre of water, observed in lakes and reservoirs monitoring stations and reported by EEA member countries via WISE. For most countries the mean annual value is based on observations over the whole year, whereas some countries only collect samples during the growing season (due to ice cover in winter). Total phosphorus includes all phosphorus components in water: phosphate, dissolved organic phosphorus and particulate phosphorus in algal and bacterial cells, as well as in mineral particles (e.g. clay).
High or increased (compared to reference condition) concentration of total phosphorus represents a risk to normal functioning of lake ecosystems, causing eutrophication with potentially harmful or toxic algal blooms in the surface waters, reduced biodiversity, and oxygen deficiency in the bottom waters.
The purpose of the map is to provide an overview of the mean annual value of total phosphorus in lakes and reservoirs across Europe and to enable the user to compare values per country, River Basin District (RBD) or individual monitoring station, depending on the scale of visualisation. Historical data since 1993 can be displayed using the time slider.
Data and maps