Phosphorus in lakes - Eutrophication indicators in lakes
Assessment made on 01 May 2004
ClassificationWater (Primary theme)
- WEU 003
Policy issue: Is the condition regarding eutrophication of Europe's lakes improving?
Eutrophication of European lakes is decreasing. Phosphorus concentrations are decreasing, and the proportion of lakes and reservoirs with high phosphorus concentration has reduced since 1980.
However, there are still many lakes and reservoirs with high concentrations of phosphorus due to human influence.
During the past few decades there has been a gradual reduction in phosphorus concentrations in many European lakes. Discharges of urban wastewater have been a major source of pollution by phosphorus, but as purification has improved and many outlets have been diverted away from lakes, this source of pollution is gradually becoming less important. Agricultural sources, both from animal manure and from diffuse pollution by erosion and leaching are similarly important and need attention to obtain good water quality in the lakes. The improvements have generally been relatively slow despite the pollution abatement measures taken. This is at least partly because of the slow recovery due to internal loading and because the ecosystems can be resistant to improvement and thereby maintain a bad steady state. Particularly in shallow lakes, such problems may call for restoration measures.
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This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe’s environment.
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