Public participation

Page Last modified 09 Nov 2018
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Public participation is a key principle of the Water Framework Directive.

All stakeholders, for example non-governmental organisations (NGO’s), local communities and water supply enterprises, should be involved in discussions leading to the formulation of the River Basin Management Plan. There are three reasons for this:

  • To inform all interested parties about possible issues related to the river basin.
  • To collect information about demands and issues at local level, e.g. from local or regional stakeholders.
  • To explain the various alternatives to developing the environmental status of the neighbourhood, and reach a consensus between the authorities and stakeholders.


The discussion with local and regional authorities and other stakeholders involved in water management should lead to a clear view on the cost-benefit relationship, and prepare the way for the planning of possible measures or the setting of priorities between alternative measures. This should either reconfirm the objectives or lead to a possible consideration of exemptions. Too often in the past implementation was left unexamined until too late, i.e. until Member States were well behind schedule and not in compliance. By establishing a network for the exchange of information and experience between water professionals throughout the Community very early on, these issues may be avoided.

Publications and links

Learn more from the respective guidance document from the

WFD common implementation Process 

Or the Commission’s WFD overview


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