Title: Assessment of the effectiveness of reported Water Framework Directive Programmes of Measures - Part II – development of a system of Europe-wide Pressure Indicators
Publisher: Publications Office of the European Union
Publication Year: 2017
JRC N°: JRC105299
ISBN: 978-92-79-64992-9
ISSN: 1831-9424
Other Identifiers: EUR 28412 EN
OP KJ-NA-28412-EN-N
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC105299
DOI: 10.2760/338294
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: The EC DG JRC is using in-house models and other information to build indicators of pressures on water bodies, in the context of the 2nd river basin management plan (RBMP) implementation assessment (Water Framework Directive (WFD) 60/2000/EC, art. 18) and review of the WFD (art. 19). These indicators are meant to provide a picture of major water pressures at the European scale. The main reason to develop a set of independent pressure indicators is the need to evaluate and monitor the effectiveness of the EU water policies at broad. If the indicators are realistic, the models used for their computation can be used also as tools to simulate scenarios with changing pressures, as a result of policies or other drivers (such as climate changes, implementation of measures or EU sectorial policies). The EC DG ENV is steering the development of an integrated hydro-economic modelling platform in support to the evaluation of policies, with the broadest possible involvement of the EU Member States, and collaborates with DG JRC by leading a large study on the economics of water in Europe also in order to supplement JRC’s biophysical models and indicators with additional economic evidence about the costs and benefits of reducing pressures and improving the conditions of freshwater and marine ecosystems. Another question is whether the pressures are evaluated consistently throughout the European Union. The JRC indicators could be used to benchmark pressure and status reported by the Member States at a different scale. In fact, if JRC indicators are sufficiently reliable, it is expected that overall trends will be consistent with the pressures reported by the Member States. At the same time, JRC indicators do not take into account local conditions in specific water bodies, and should not be compared to reported pressures and status at water body level. The aim of benchmarking is to understand the reasons for assessment discrepancies, primarily for verification purposes. In particular, discrepancies should not be considered per se as evidence of non-compliance in the implementation of the WFD by Member States. particularly, if a given river basin is flagged by Member State reports to suffer from a given pressure, but this is not found in the JRC pressure indicators, the knowledge available at the Commission is likely inadequate for that river basin. The benchmarking process with reported pressures/status in itself could prompt the Commission to seek an explanation for the discrepancies, and eventually to update the indicators, with the overall goal of a coherent and shared vision of pressures at the European and river basin district scales. DG ENV encourages Member States to provide feedback to DG JRC on the indicators and the underpinning models, so that the European scale picture of water pressures they provide can be improved to a sufficient level of realism and representativeness, and can be consequently used as a basis for European water policy evaluation and development. As a first opportunity for this process, the JRC organised a workshop in Ispra on 11-12 May 2016 with the aim to collect feedback from experts on the proposed methodologies and indicators. The JRC pressure indicators are updated over time, as new knowledge is available at the European level. Therefore the benchmarking of local and European assessments is supposed to be a continuous process. The reviews by experts in the Member States should not add to the administrative burden related to the WFD, but should be conducted with the modalities of scientific peer reviews. It will be necessary to pay significant attention to the way the results are communicated, so to clarify the content of the indicators and avert risks of misinterpretation. The review of the indicators will serve also this purpose. This document summarizes the JRC indicators, the state of play with their update and further development, and the outcomes of the workshop held in Ispra on May 11-12, 2016.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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