The European Environment Agency (EEA) was established under Council Regulation No. EEC/1210/90 and was given a task:

‘to provide the Community and the Member States with objective, reliable and comparable information at European level enabling them to take the measures to protect the environment, to assess the results of measures and to ensure that the public is properly informed about the state of the environment.’

To assist in this task, the EEA established five European Topic Centres (ETC) in December 1994 addressing media-orientated monitoring projects on air quality, air emissions, inland waters, marine waters and coastal zone management (scoping study only) and nature conservation.

Three projects were originally identified by the European Environment Agency (EEA) to be undertaken by the European Topic Centre on Inland Waters (ETC/IW) during 1995.

These are coded and entitled as follows:

  • MW1: Water resources - quality and quantity. General approach to assessment.
  • MW2: Inventory of water resources monitoring networks.
  • MW3: Design of freshwater monitoring network for the EEA area.

Additional Tasks within projects MW4 and MW5 were subsequently identified by the EEA for the 1994 subvention. The titles of MW4 and MW5 are as follows:

  • MW4: Development and establishment of the European water quality monitoring network and data bases.
  • MW5: Water resources evaluation.

The additional specific Tasks relate to the key issues and problems associated with the quality, use and resource of lakes and reservoirs in the EEA area, particularly in semi-arid and water scarcity regions.

The Tasks required to achieve the objectives of the Projects are described in detail in the technical work programme produced (Task 1) at the end of January 1995 by the Water Research Centre as the Lead Organisation of the ETC/IW. In brief, Task 2 is to review current and proposed European Union (EU) legislation, policies (such as the Dobríš assessment, including the identified Prominent Environmental Problems related to freshwater resources) and international agreements. Monitoring requirements made under these obligations are numerous, and, because they are generally designed to meet specific needs, the programmes have been designed largely independently from each other. Thus, monitoring requirements for inland waters in the EEA area have not been drafted in any co-ordinated way.

Task 3 is to use the information collated in Task 2 to suggest an approach to co-ordinate and improve monitoring across the EEA area. This report is on the findings of project MW1 (Tasks 2 and 3).

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