Justification for indicator selection
Poor chemical status is a sign of deterioration of the health of the water ecosystem and prevents it from being used as a safe water resource for human needs. The main objective of the WFD is that all waters should be in good chemical status by 2015. The current classification is the baseline from which the improvements objective of the WFD is measured.
Chemical status of groundwater, rivers, lakes, transitional waters and coastal waters. The indicator can be used to illustrate variations between different water categories and geographical variations.
The chemical status is presented as percentage of total classified water bodies by area or count.
Policy context and targets
The indicator presents the main results on chemical status, as reported in the first river basin management plans reported under the WFD. The WFD came into force on 22 December 2000, and according to the directive the first river basin management plans should be published at the latest nine years after the directive entered into force. There are however serious delays in some parts of the EU, and in some Member States consultations are still on-going.
The indicator is directly linked to the objective of the WFD. The main objective of the WFD is that all waters should be in good chemical status by 2015, or 15 years after the entry into force of the directive. The indicator shows the number of water bodies where management measures are needed, and for which water categories and in which regions the need for measures is highest.
Related policy documents
EQS Directive 2008/105/EC of 16 December 2008
Directive 2008/105/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on environmental quality standards in the field of water policy, amending and subsequently repealing Council Directives 82/176/EEC, 83/513/EEC, 84/156/EEC, 84/491/EEC, 86/491/EEC, 86/280/EEC and amending Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council.
Groundwater Directive (GWD) 2006/118/EC
Directive 2006/118/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on the protection of groundwater against pollution and deterioration
Water Framework Directive (WFD) 2000/60/EC
Water Framework Directive (WFD) 2000/60/EC: Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy.
Key policy question
What is the chemical status of European waters?
Specific policy question
What is chemical status of waters in different parts of Europe?
Methodology for indicator calculation
Source of data: The WISE-WFD database contains the data as reported in the River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs). The indicator is based on an extract of the WISE-WFD database as of May 2012.
Type of data: The data presented are chemical status of single water bodies.
Data coverage: The Member States are required to classify all their water bodies above a certain size.
For certain RBDs there is either no reporting or all water bodies are reported as unclassified (see Fig. 2, 3): the whole of Greece, the Wallonian and Brussels regions in Belgium, parts of Spain, Sardinia and Sicily in Italy, and a few other very small RBDs. Norway and Iceland (European Economic Area countries) will not report until 2015.
Calculation: The percentage of water bodies in the different status is calculated against the total number (for surface water bodies) or area (for groundwater bodies) of classified water bodies. Hence, the figures represent the classified water bodies in the 27 Member States only, excluding Sweden.
Methodology for gap filling
No methodology for gap filling has been specified. Probably this info has been added together with indicator calculation.
No methodology references available.
EEA data references
- WISE WFD Database provided by Directorate-General for Environment (DG ENV)
Data sources in latest figures
Monitoring was not carried out equally throughout the Europe, it was not obvious from the data sets provided by the Member States what chemicals were monitored and whether all chemicals set out by Annex I of Directive 2008/105/EC were monitored (presumably not), whether all monitored chemicals were used for the chemical status assessment, whether chemical analyses were performed with appropriate LOQs with respect to EQS, whether the Member States used the same procedures and methods to assess the chemical status of water bodies and whether the Member States used the appropriate matrix for the monitoring pursuant to the Guidance document on Chemical Monitoring of Sediment and Biota under the Water Framework Directive (case of Sweden and the rest of the Members States). The methodology does not take into account various degree of detail in reported data described above.
Data sets uncertainty
Chemicals used for the chemical status assessment were grouped for the purpose of WFD reporting into two groups (pesticides, Annex II pollutants) by the Commission. A list of chemicals within the different pollutant groups is given in Table 1. Some Member States reported chemical status based on a mix of groups of pollutants and individual pollutants, some based on individual pollutants and one based on groups of pollutants only. One country did not provide information on pollutants.
Table 1: Grouping of chemicals into pollutant groups (marked in bold)
|3 Annex II pollutants|
Chemicals used for the chemical status assessment were grouped for the purpose of WFD reporting into four groups (heavy metals, pesticides, industrial pollutants and other pollutants) by the Commission. A list of chemicals within the different pollutant groups is given in Table 2. Compounds greyed in the table were not reported by the Member States and thus they either were not monitored or not used for the chemical status assessment or they did not cause any failure to achieve good chemical status. Some Member States reported chemical status based on pollutant groups only, some based on a mix of groups of pollutants and individual pollutants, some based on individual pollutants only and some provided no information on pollutants.
Table 2: Grouping of chemicals into pollutant groups (marked in bold)
|1 Heavy Metals||3 Industrial Pollutants||4.3 Endrin|
|1.1 Cadmium||3.1 Anthracene||4.4 Isodrin|
|1.2 Lead||3.2 Benzene||4.5 DDT Total|
|1.3 Mercury||3.3 Brominated diphenylether||4.6 para-para-DDT|
|1.4. Nickel||3.4 Carbontetrachloride||4.7 Fluoranthene|
|2 Pesticides||3.5 C10 - 13 Chloroalkanes||4.8 Hexachlorobenzene|
|2.1 Alachlor||3.6 1,2 -Dichloroethane||4.9 Hexachlorobutadiene|
|2.2 Atrazine||3.7 Dichloromethane||4.10 Pentachlorophenol|
|2.3. Chlorpyriphos||3.8 Di(2-ethylexyl)phthalate(DEHP)||4.11 Polyaromatic hydrocarbons|
|2.4 Chlorvefinphos||3.9 Naphthalane||4.12 Benzo(a)pyrene|
|2.5 Diuron||3.10 Nonylphenol||4.13 Benzo(b)fluoranthene|
|2.6 Endosulfan||3.11 Octylphenol||4.14 Benzo(k)fluoranthene|
|2.7 Isoproturon||3.13 Trichloroethylene||4.15 Benzo(g,h,i)perylene|
|2.8 Hexachlorocyclphexane||3.14 Trichloromethane||4.16 Indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene|
|2.9 Pentachlorobenzene||4.Other pollutants||4.17 Tributyltin compounds|
|2.10 Simazine||4.1 Aldrin||4.18 Trichlorobenzenes (all isomers)|
|2.11 Trifluralin||4.2 DDT Total|
No uncertainty has been specified
Short term work
Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.
Long term work
Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.
Responsibility and ownership
EEA Contact InfoPeter Kristensen
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
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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