1. introduction

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1. Introduction

This report is a summary of the activities undertaken for the 1995 European Topic Centre Project MW2/Task 4 "Produce an inventory of current and planned water resources monitoring procedures and practices in the EEA member countries and international conventions with particular emphasis on monitoring of groundwater (quality and quantity) and surface water quantity."

The basic ideas for this task were

  • to identify present and planned water resources (quality and quantity, groundwater) monitoring in EU Member States, Norway and Iceland in particular: sampling strategies (frequencies, number of sites, methods of sampling), analytical procedures and the dissemination of results;

  • to review national and international quality assurance procedures (and identify the extent to which they are applied in each member state);

  • to determine the extent to which the monitoring procedures are applied by the Member States, Norway and Iceland vary

  • to judge the extent to which states have instigated measures to harmonise their water resource monitoring strategies and, where possible;

  • to identify possible routes to harmonisation and the practical barriers and solutions for greater harmonisation on a European Union level

(from the WRc summary of the technical work programme for the 1994 subvention, p.12/65, 30 January 1995)

As a matter of fact national differences in monitoring systems arise in fields like

  • monitoring obligations due to national law

  • number of observed parameters

  • limits of detection

  • number and types of sampling sites

  • frequency of data collection

  • quality assurance and quality control methods

  • data collation and data treatment (statistically)

The detection of these differences within the EEA member countries is absolutely necessary for designing and establishing a European wide monitoring network by the EEA. Only data that are comparable will help to work out possible ways to solve urgent environmental questions of the future. These important topics cannot be treated by every country on its own. International co-operation will be the way, thereupon the demand for comparable data and connected environmental monitoring networks is indispensable.

With the help of a questionnaire the information needed has been collected. The design of the questionnaire was the result of the broad experience of NERI and the contributions of the AWW and IH in February 1995. The questionnaire contains four parts: Part I general description of monitoring activities at the country level; Part II surface water quantity monitoring; Part III groundwater quality; and, Part IV groundwater quantity monitoring. Parts I. III and IV of the questionnaire are given in Annex 3.

The main headings used within Parts I, III and IV are summarised in Table 1.1 below. As Part II dealt with surface water quantity monitoring it is not discussed in this report - further details are given in Rees et al., 1996.

Table 1.1 Summary of contents of Parts I, II and IV of the MW2 questionnaire

Monitoring activities at country level

Groundwater quality

Groundwater quantity

Part I

Part III

Part IV

groundwater - national extent of porous, karst and other groundwaters. national mapping and characterisation work name of monitoring programme name of monitoring programme
water resources - potential, consumption, % of consumption ground and surface waters monitoring objectives (why monitoring is undertaken) monitoring objectives (why monitoring is undertaken)
inland surface waters - main characteristics e.g. national hydrological regime, major river basins, lakes, wetlands responsible and collaborating organisations (addresses, contact persons, responsibilities) responsible and collaborating organisations (addresses, contact persons, responsibilities)
administrative organisations for groundwater quality and quantity monitoring, and surface quantity monitoring extent of network (geographical coverage, number of regions and sampling sites etc.) extent of network (geographical coverage, number of regions and sampling sites etc.)
  groundwater regions (area, sampling frequency, etc.)  
  monitoring network characteristics monitoring network characteristics
  observed variables (dimension, frequency, analytical methods, etc.) observed variables
  temporal coverage of monitoring temporal coverage of monitoring
  data storage and management details data storage and management details
  data availability (fees, restrictions, reporting organisations, etc.) data availability (fees, restrictions, reporting organisations, etc.)
  quality control and assurance procedures quality control and assurance procedures
  report of observation (organisation, persons, addresses) report of observation (organisation, persons, addresses)
  sampling site details sampling site details

After the validation of the questionnaire by the ETC/IW consortium and the EEA they were delivered to each National Focal Point (NFP) via selected ETC/IW members within the EEA area. The NFPs were responsible for the distribution of the questionnaires by contacting their national key organisations and key persons and ask them to answer and provide hard copies as well as ASCII files of monitoring stations. Afterwards the NFPs were asked to return the answered questionnaires to the selected ETC/IW members. These members sent the questionnaires to the ETC/IW members AWW (groundwater quality and quantity) and IH (surface water quantity) who were responsible for collecting and evaluating the questionnaires. Furthermore both organisations were obliged to load the data of the questionnaires onto a database and to produce reports.

The inventory started in February 1995 and was to be completed by the end of April 1995. The national answering procedures turned out to be very difficult due to administrative structures, divided responsibilities for national monitoring or decentralised monitoring systems. Most of the questionnaires were returned with long delays, the last arriving at the AWW by mid of September 1995. To date no information has been received from Belgium and Luxembourg.

A short overview of the responses is given in Table 1.2.

Table 1.2 Questionnaires returned:

Country Questionnaire Part I Questionnaire Part III Questionnaire Part IV Station details Remarks
Austria

x

x

x

x

 
Belgium         to date no inf.
Denmark

x

x

x

x

 
Finland

x

x

x

x

 
France

x

x

x

x

 
Germany

x

x

x

  Only four of 16 „Länder" returned questionnaires, no Part I has been provided
Greece

x

      to date only part I received
Iceland

x

 

x

   
Ireland

x

x

x

  no quality monitoring in Ireland
Italy

x

x

x

x

questionnaires contain only a national average estimation
Luxembourg         to date no inf.
The Netherlands

x

x

x

x

 
Norway

x

x

x

x

 
Portugal

x

x

x

   
Spain

x

x

x

x

 
Sweden

x

x

x

   
United Kingdom

x

x

x

  No national database of groundwater quality sites exists at present

Notes:

A questionnaire was not sent to Liechtenstein
The Part II questionnaire deals with surface water quantity monitoring and is not included in this report. For more details see Rees et al. (1996).

Due to the short deadlines given within this task, the data supplied on the completed questionnaires where loaded into Excel spreadsheets to make the first data handling fast and simple. The design of the spreadsheets was made under the consideration of an easy loading procedure into a relational database (more technical details are given in chapter 3 of this report). Later on this database was constructed as a draft model in MS-Access 7.0. In the future it will converted into a ‘digital VAX-rdb’ database in order to ensure save and fast data access.

The remainder of this report is based on answers given in the questionnaires. It describes the different national status of groundwater quality and quantity monitoring in Europe. For those countries who failed to respond, the relevant sections of the report are simply left blank. In the next chapters the following topics are described:

Chapter 2 National monitoring description (quality and quantity)
Chapter 3 Technical description of database
Chapter 4/5 Tables for comparison
Chapter 6 Discussion
Conclusions

Supplementary information such as on organisation names and addresses are given in various annexes.

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