Countries' perspectives on SOER 2015 - Freshwater cross-country comparison

Page Last modified 11 May 2020
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Photo: © Katarzyna Dąbrowska/EEA

Countries and regions


Wallonia: The implementation of the Walloon Sustainable Management Programme for Nitrogen in Agriculture aims to better manage nitrogen from agricultural sources as a whole. To control if the application rates for manures and fertilizers are effectively respected in the field, Wallonia has decided to make the measurement of potentially leachable nitrogen in agricultural soils compulsory in vulnerable areas (Indicator:,m588bb,default,1&m588bbalias=Control-of-the-sustainable-management-programme-for-nitrogen-in-agriculture&m588bbreturnid=46&page=46 ).

The reduction in phosphorus detergents is also explained by a significant decrease in the application of phosphorous-based fertilizers (-72% in Wallonia between 1995 and 2012 for example). One of the reason is the increasing price of the mineral fertilizers (rising energy costs to produce it and scarcity of some raw material).

Erosion prevention from agricultural soils is a future challenge as this phenomenon is a major contributor of phosphorous in water courses, and at least to better manage the existing (polluted) sediments.


Water quality in Ireland compares favourably with that in other EU countries. However, similar to many other EU countries, Ireland still faces considerable challenges to meet the objectives of the WFD within the required timeframes. The three main challenges for water quality management are to eliminate serious pollution associated with point sources; to tackle diffuse pollution; and to use the full range of legislative measures in an integrated way to achieve better water quality. A key aspect is that focusing measures on rivers, where monitoring has identified particular causes of pollution, will help reduce pollutant loading to lakes and coastal waters as well as improving river quality.


The monitoring network of river quality in Kosovo consists of 54 monitoring sites. 10 physical parameters are measured 11 times a year, 39 chemical parameters are measured 11 times a year, and 8 parameters of heavy metals are measured twice a year.


Since the beginning of the 2000s wastewater discharges have remained stable. A whole range of investments were implemented in the area of municipal wastewater treatment which resulted in the increase of wastewater treatment plants effectiveness, extension of sewerage system, and an increase in the number people connected to wastewater treatment plants. About 94% of wastewater discharges requiring treatment are treated (2013, Central Statistical Office of Poland). Municipal wastewater discharges decreased from 1494 hm3 in 2000 to 1246.6 hm3 in 2013. The amount of industrial and municipal wastewater subjected to treatment with improved biogene removal increased 2.3 times over the period 2000-2013. The percentage of the population connected to wastewater treatment plants increased from 53% in 2000 to 70.3% in 2013 (93.3% in the cities and 35.3% in rural areas).

Pressure from municipal wastewater sector has been limited due to realisation of the national municipal wastewater treatment programme adopted in 2003. It aims to construct, expand and modernise municipal sewage networks and waste water treatment plants and implement the provisions of the Accession Treaty (referring to Council Directive 91/271/EEC). The programme assumes that Poland will achieve the EU quality standards for waste water discharged into the aquatic environment from sewage treatment plants and achieve a 75% reduction in the total nitrogen and phosphorus load in municipal waste water across its territory in order to protect surface waters, including marine waters, from eutrophication.

As regards the impact from agriculture, after significant reduction in the early 90s, the use of mineral fertilisers has been stabilised in the middle of 2000s with a slight increase for nitrogen fertilisers in previous years. It is due, inter alia, to the fact that the Code of good agricultural practices has been applied by farmers more often.

Limitation of the impact on water resources from agriculture will be supported by set of actions defined in the Rural Development Programme for 2014-2020. They are aiming to decrease nutrient leaching to groundwater and ensure the well-balanced usage of fertilisers by appropriate agro-technical methods application.

As a result of these actions a continuous decreasing trend of nitrogen and phosphorus discharges through rivers from Poland’s territory to the Baltic Sea has been observed since 1990.


Analysis of the results of surface water quality shows that orthophosphates are the main contributors to nutrient pollution. As agriculture is one of the main sources of water pollution by nutrients, further research in Serbia should focus on the implementation of the methodology for the assessment of diffuse pollution, which has been tested in a pilot basin. A precondition for the use of the methodology for the assessment of diffuse pollution on the whole territory of Serbia is to update the database of emissions to water.


Average levels of nitrate, as well as orthophosphate and ammonium, which are slightly above background levels, do not show significant changes in the period. The values of biochemical oxygen demand, which is usually an indicator of organic pollution, have significantly decreased in Slovenia since 2005, predominantly due to improved wastewater treatment and abandonment of polluting industries.



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