An Integrated Approach
The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment and Sustainable Development
Edited by Carlo Giupponi, Anthony J. Jakeman, Derek Karssenberg and Matt P. Hare
Chapter 3: Water Policies and the Integrated Management of Surface Waters: An Ecological Approach
Pier Francesco Ghetti and Carlo Giupponi 3.1 BACKGROUND On 22 December 2000, the Water Framework Directive (WFD) was published in the Official Journal of the European Communities (EC, 2000). The WFD is generally considered one of the most important pieces of legislation issued at the European level in the last decade, for its ambitious aim of establishing ‘a framework for the protection of inland surface waters, transitional waters, coastal waters and groundwaters’ (Dir. 2000/60/EC, art. 1) for all Member States, which should enable the EU to achieve a ‘good status’ of surface and groundwaters, through a common implementation process expected to last for 15 years. The WFD has catalysed the attention of the scientific community and provided a strong momentum for rethinking the principles and the methods of water management not only at the European level. The promotion of ‘sustainable water use based on long-term protection of available water resources’ (art. 1b) is one of the main objectives and the approach adopted considers water bodies as components of ecosystems that should be managed at the level of ‘river basin districts’. The emphasis is on a systemic approach that integrates biological and chemical aspects, with the consideration of the ‘quantitative status’ of water bodies, together with the delineation of districts based on hydrological and geomorphological features instead of the more usual administrative units. This brings the European water policy into the field of environmental sciences and, in particular, enforces the role of an ecological approach to water management. The integration of...
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