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Sound and independent information
on the environment


The issue

The continuing presence of pollutants in Europe's freshwaters, their structural modifications and increasing problems with water scarcity and floods threatens aquatic ecosystems and raises concerns for public health. Reporting under the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) reveals that a substantial proportion of Europe's freshwaters may not achieve 'good status' by 2015. Even though the EU Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (UWWTD) has significantly reduced emissions of pollutants, challenges remain because UWWTD implementation is incomplete and other significant sources of water pollution exist, notably agriculture and urban storm flows. Climate change is expected to increase concerns over water scarcity and floods. Effective and timely water management measures are required under the WFD, focusing on controls 'at source' and efficient use of all resources including clean water, energy and chemicals.

Review process

In 2012 the Commission will publish a 'Blueprint to safeguard Europe's water resources', building on reviews of WFD implementation, the policy for water scarcity and droughts, and an assessment of the vulnerability of water resources to climate change. Also in 2012 and every two years thereafter the EU will review the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive. In 2015 the EU will review the Water Framework Directive. In 2018 the EU will review the Directive on the assessment and management of flood risks.

Links to SOER 2010 and other EEA products

Global megatrends


Thematic assessments

Other EEA products

  • Population
  • Understanding climate change
  • Urban
  • Ch. 2: Climate change
  • Mitigating climate change

  • Ch. 4: Natural resources and waste


  • Continued growth


  • Global power shifts
  • Soil


  • Marine and coastal environment


  • Consumption and environment



  • Material resources and waste




  • Global regulation and governance





  • Air pollution




  • Urban environment


Note: Above cells with hyperlinks lead to specific SOER 2010 information and other EEA products that are relevant to the policy area on this page.

Geographical coverage

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Document Actions


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