The protection of Europe’s water resources is a high priority for the European Union. Since the 1970s, the European Union adopted various legislative and policy measures to protect water from pollution and to reduce risks to human health. This development culminated in the adoption of the Water Framework Directive (Directive 2000/60/EC) in 2000 that introduced an innovative approach to water management based on river basins. As of 2009, the WFD has now entered its 1st planning cycle and become operational. Most river basins have published their river basin management plans (RBMPs) and corresponding programme of measures (PoMs). And as of the beginning of January 2012, the PoMs are being implemented Europe wide.
To facilitate the European Commission’s work on assessing the implementation of the WFD by the MS, this framework contract supported the Water Unit in the following areas:
- Provide impartial advice on scientific, socio-economic and technical issues related to the issues dealt with within the Common Implementation Strategy (CIS) of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and Floods Directive.
- Provide technical assistance to the Commission in the assessment and compliance checking of the implementation of the EU water legislation (WFD, priority substances Directive, Groundwater Directive and Floods Directive).
- Provide technical assistance to the Commission in assessing inter-linkages between WFD implementation and other pieces of EU water legislation and how to better ensure mutual benefits of implementation and in integration of water policy into other EU policies areas, including biodiversity, green infrastructure, Nature, soils, forests, Marine, REACH, agriculture, energy, transport, industry, regional policy and cohesion and trans-boundary and international cooperation.
- Provide technical assistance to the Commission in the development of the Water Information System for Europe.
- Provide technical assistance to the Commission in new policy developments and specific areas of study as a follow-up of the Blueprint, including development of indicators and targets for water efficiency, further assessment of the impacts on the water cycle of climate change, variability, land-use and socio-economic development, etc.
Since 2006, staff at Fresh Thoughts has been providing support to the Water Unit in the fields of agriculture, adaptation to climate change and environmental economics, among others. Together with its partners, Fresh Thoughts was part of one of the three consortia that can compete within the framework contract to support the implementation of these water-related directives.