Publication: Easier Said Than Done? The Establishment of Baseline Groundwater Conditions for the Implementation of the Water Framework Directive in Spain
Full text at PDC
Advisors (or tutors)
European Water Resources Association (EWRA) / Springer
The European Union (EU) Water Framework Directive (WFD) requires EU countries to achieve good status of all their waters by 2015. This should be achieved through the implementation of river basin management plans (RBMPs), which in turn are based on water resources baseline data. While it is too soon to assess the WFD effectiveness, the lanning process has contributed to identify possible pitfalls of the WFD design and has provided an opportunity to enhance the knowledge of European water resources. Groundwater plays a strategic role in Spain’s economy and also in the maintenance of its aquatic ecosystems, making that country an excellent testing ground for getting an insight into the definition of baseline groundwater under the WFD mandate. This paper presents the results of compiling the information produced for the RBMPs to attain an overall picture at a national scale. In doing so, it examines some of the methodological and technical choices involved in the definition of a baseline for groundwater, assessing their practical consequences on groundwater management. This paper argues that having baseline figures for the RBMPs required compromises or shortcuts to be taken. Undoubtedly, the process leading to the first WFD Plans has been an extremely enriching learning process, but it leaves questions unanswered. The periodic (6 year) RBMP revision should become an opportunity to revisit and better tune the baseline conditions established during this first planning cycle.