An Fóram Uisce, welcomes the EU Commissioner for Environment Ocean and Fisheries, Virginius Sinkevičus, announcement that ‘the WFD is an essential piece of EU environmental legislation and will stay in its current form’.
The WFD is one of Europe’s most ambitious and holistic pieces of environmental legislation with a target of 100% good water status across all EU waterbodies by 2027. More than 375,000 citizens recommended keeping the WFD without change but they also recommended better implemented by member states.
The EEA European Waters – Assessment of Status and Pressures 2018 Report states that 60% of EU freshwater is failing to meet the WFD objectives. In Ireland, 52.8% surface water bodies are reaching WFD standards according to the EPA Water Quality in Ireland report 2018
The final report on the WFD Fitness Check published in December 2019, identified a lack funding as an obstacle to WFD implementation and noted that member states did not fully recover costs to support WFD measures. The fitness check also highlighted the need to incentivise good practice.
The DHPLG announced this week an extension to The Significant Water Management Issues (SWMI) consultation to 7th August and the draft River Basin Management Plan (RBMP) will be in preparation shortly, for launch in early 2021.
An Fóram recommends widespread public engagement with the SWMI consultation and the development of the new RBMP, as getting the next plan right is an imperative to safeguard our water supply and resources as doing will have multiple benefits for our economy, society and well-being.