Water Framework Directive

The Water Framework Directive (WFD), a European directive, establishes a framework for the protection of inland surface waters, transitional waters, coastal waters and groundwater. It is designed to ensure that European waters achieve good status by 2015 (later extended to 2021). The term good status covers good chemical and good ecological status. An evaluation is made of chemical status in relation to priority substances and Scheldt-specific substances. The ecological status of a body of water is determined by means of an evaluation of biological quality elements and supporting physical, chemical and hydromorphological quality elements. Member States establish a management plan for every river basin district on their territory. In international river basin districts these management plans must be harmonised. In Belgium it is the MUMM which is responsible for monitoring the status of coastal waters under the WFD.


Scope in Belgium:

Belgian coastal waters: the one mile zone and twelve mile zone for chemical status within the International River Basin District of the Scheldt.


Initial phase 2009-2015

In 2009 the first river basin management plan was drawn up for Belgian coastal waters. The plan includes the characteristics of the river basin district, a review of the impact of human activity on the status of waters in the river basin, an estimate of the effects of existing laws and regulations, the “gap” remaining to achieve the targets and a set of measures to bridge this “gap”. At the end of the initial phase a second management plan was developed, it will be assessed in 2016 and adapted if necessary. The Belgian coast is part of the International River Basin District of the Scheldt, for which an overarching management plan is maintained and coordinated by the International Scheldt Commission.


Legal texts: