Home - Mission - A Four Part Strategy



  • A European directive

    The WFD is…
    a main goal = a return to good water status by 2015,
    an evaluation unit = water bodies,
    a planning document = the management plan,
    an action document = the programme of measures,
    data transmission = reports,
    a monitoring system = the monitoring programme,
    a management cycle = six years.

  • European reporting

    In 2010, France sent to the European commission its report on implementation of the European Water framework directive (WFD). The transmitted data included an evaluation report on water status in 2009, a goal for each water body and a detailed estimate for each river basin of the costs involved in the efforts to reach those goals.
  • The status of water bodies in 2009

    Water with good status is… water of sufficient quality and quantity to ensure sustainable operation of ecosystems and meet needs.
  • More information

Report to the European commission on water status in 2009

In France, the chemical and ecological status is good for almost 45% of surface waters, whereas for ground water, the chemical status is good for 59% and the quantitative status is good for 89%. These data, made public on 2010, shed light on water status in 2009. They were sent to the European commission in the report on implementation of the European water framework directive (WFD).

By adopting the WFD in 2000, the European countries acquired the means to halt damage to water quality. The WFD set three major, environmental goals, 1) achieve good water status by 2015, 2) halt deterioration of water resources and aquatic environments, and 3) reduce or eliminate the release of dangerous substances. Each Member State must report regularly to the EU on the measures taken and the progress made in reaching those goals.

A complex reporting system

In France, data are collected on 11 523 bodies of surface water (rivers, lakes, coastal waters) and 574 bodies of groundwater, selected as data units to evaluate whether good status is achieved or not. The data are acquired by numerous participants according to strict protocols in compliance with European regulations and centralised by the Water agencies in each basin. They are then transmitted to Onema which puts together the overall "snapshot" of water quality in France and sends the final data to the Ecology ministry. The data are subsequently fed into the WISE (Water information system for Europe).

Salient figures on water quality

In 2009, the quantitative status was good for 89% of French groundwater, which means that draw-offs do not exceed the capacity of aquifers. The chemical status was good for 59%, i.e. pollutant levels (nitrates, pesticides, cadmium, lead, etc.) were lower than the thresholds set nationally. For surface waters, good status concerns both the ecological and chemical aspects. Good ecological status refers to optimal operation of aquatic ecosystems and to their capacity to regenerate. Currently, the ecological status of 7% of surface water bodies is very good and that of 38% is good. The goal is to reach 64% of water bodies with good status by 2015, the remaining 34% having received longer deadlines, essentially for technical reasons. The chemical status is assessed by measuring the concentration of 41 substances in aquatic environments, including metals (lead, mercury, nickel, etc.), pesticides and industrial pollutants (benzene, chloroform, etc.). If the measured concentration exceeds a threshold, called EQS (environmental quality standard), the chemical status of the water body is considered not good. In 2009, the chemical status of 45% of surface waters was good, that of 21% was not good and for 34%, the status was not available. For 2015, the goal is good chemical status for 83% of water bodies.

Insufficient data for lakes

The status of certain water bodies could not be determined because the data were not sufficient. For example, the ecological status could not be determined for 45% of lakes and the chemical status for 67%. This lack of data for lakes is much greater than that noted for rivers which have much longer data series. Gains in knowledge during WFD implementation are essential to ensure that all stakeholders are working together toward the same goal, i.e. good water status in 2015, 2021 and 2027.



Back to Newsletter