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Everything about fresh water in Europe

Clean fresh water is essential to life. Unfortunately, almost all human activities affect water quality. On World Water Day, 22 March, the European Environment Agency (EEA) is enriching the information on the web-based Water Information System for Europe (WISE) with two new sets of data on urban waste water and pollutant releases.

Europe hosts several million kilometres of rivers and streams and more than a million lakes. Each body of water has its own characteristics and specific environmental problems.

WISE brings together all the information collected at EU level and on surface and ground water, including data on bathing waters. It presents the information in the form of data sets or interactive maps.

For the first time, urban waste water treatment data (the location and type of treatment plants), which Governments gather pursuant to the EU Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive), are available as a dataset and can be downloaded in WISE. The second new feature is 'emissions' data sets on the total amount of nutrients and some hazardous substances released to water bodies.

Concrete plans to improve European waters are on the way

Water resources frequently span geopolitical boundaries. Truly sustainable use and protection of resources thus often requires international and regional cooperation. The key EU legislation on water, the Water Framework Directive, establishes a broad management approach based on river basin districts.

World Water Day also coincides with one of the key dates in the implementation of the Directive. EU countries are required to report their river basin management plans to the European Commission by 22 March 2010. These plans will detail concrete measures to achieve a‘good chemical and ecological status’ in 2015, as required by the Directive.

More information

Check the current status of the Member States' River Basin Management Plans.

To find out more on the state of biodiversity of Europe's freshwater bodies, see Biodiversity – 10 messages for 2010: Freshwater ecosystems

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European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100