A hundred Environmental NGOs have launched a new online campaign to encourage Europeans to participate in the European Commission’s public consultation on the EU Water Framework Directive. The European public has until 4 March 2019 to comment on an ongoing evaluation of the Directive which commits European Union member states to achieve good qualitative and quantitative status of all water bodies.
The online campaign, called #ProtectWater, is led by WWF, the European Environmental Bureau, European Anglers Alliance, European Rivers Network and Wetlands International, who together form the Living Rivers Europe coalition.
The campaign's website features a video which presents a dystopic future where beer is not the same as we know it, because the key ingredient - water - is too scarce or too dirty, as a mechanism to raise awareness of water availability and cleanliness initiatives promoted and protected by the EU directive.
Sergiy Moroz, Senior Policy Officer for Water and Biodiversity for the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), said:
“The EU has world-leading water protection laws that are up to the job of protecting freshwater ecosystems from pressures such as the impact of hydropower and pollution and over-abstraction from agriculture and industry. But, shockingly, the political will from EU governments to use them is lacking.”
In the EU, it is estimated that 60% of waters are not healthy because they have been exploited in ways that cause permanent harm, such as through dams, the construction of other destructive infrastructure, and unsustainable agriculture.
The Water Framework Directive calls for cessation of these practices and places a target to achieve “good status” for EU waters by 2027.
Laurice Ereifej, WWF-DCP Regional Freshwater Lead, said “In Central and Eastern Europe many of our rivers are still in good conditions. This is not only good for nature. The many benefits people get from such healthy rivers are clean drinking water, opportunities for recreation and tourism, or lower flood risks. Two million Hungarians get their drinking water from the Danube! Proper enforcement of the EU Water Framework Directive ensures that economic development can take place without jeopardizing these services our rivers provide. It prevents the construction of unsustainable small hydropower, old fashioned flood protection infrastructure or harmful navigation projects. So, it is critically important to make sure this piece of legislation stays in place and is not watered down".
The NGOs assert that where political will exists, the WFD provides an effective framework for addressing the main pressures on the use of water resources. However, the campaign points out that Member States need to significantly step up efforts and funding if the 2027 deadline is to be achieved.
Cheers to that.