Water Framework Directive

The Directive aims for 'good status' for all ground and surface waters (rivers, lakes, transitional waters, and coastal waters) in the EU. The ecological and chemical status of surface waters are assessed according to the following criteria:

  1. Biological quality (fish, benthic invertebrates, aquatic flora),
  2. Hydromorphological quality such as river bank structure, river continuity or substrate of the river bed,
  3. Physical-chemical quality such as temperature, oxygenation and nutrient conditions,
  4. Chemical quality that refers to environmental quality standards for river basin specific pollutants. These standards specify maximum concentrations for specific water pollutants. If even one such concentration is exceeded, the water body will not be classed as having a “good ecological status”.

According to this directive, groundwater must achieve “good quantitative status” and “good chemical status”.