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Water quality monitoring: a ‘toolbox’ in response to the EU’s Water Framework Directive requirements

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The Water Framework Directive (WFD, 2000/60/EC) is one of the most important pieces of environmental legislation produced in recent years and is likely to transform the way water quality monitoring is undertaken across all European Union’s member states. The objectives of the WFD are to improve, protect and prevent further deterioration of quality for most types of water body across Europe. The Directive aims to achieve and ensure “good quality” status of all water bodies throughout Europe by 2015, and this is to be achieved by implementing management plans at the river basin level. Monitoring is required to cover a number of ‘water quality elements’ including biological, chemical (inorganic and organic priority pollutants), hydro-morphological, and physicochemical parameters. Three modes of monitoring regime are specified in the Directive and will form part of the management plans that must be introduced by December 2006. These include: (i) surveillance monitoring aimed at assessing long-term water quality changes and providing baseline data on river basins allowing the design and implementation of other types of monitoring, (ii) operational monitoring aimed at providing additional and essential data on water bodies at risk or failing environmental objectives of the WFD, (iii) investigative monitoring aimed at assessing causes of such failure when they are unknown.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Environmental Technology
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2005

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