Problems, Principles and Policies
Edited by Phoebe Koundouri, Panos Pashardes, Timothy M. Swanson and Anastasios Xepapadeas
Chapter 10: A Critical Examination of the New Integrated European Water Protection Regime
10. A critical examination of the new integrated European water protection regime* David Grimeaud 10.1 INTRODUCTION Despite the early adoption of an EU-wide regulatory framework, the state of European waters is all but satisfying.1 In many instances, not only has the quality of EU fresh waters failed to improve, but it has often also degraded as a result of, inter alia, continuing industrial pollutant discharges or diﬀuse contamination by agriculture products.2 Alongside the quality aspect, experts argue also that irrigation, tourism and unsustainable patterns of water consumption have led to the deterioration of the quantitative status of many underground aquifers, in particular in southern European countries where rainfalls are likely to further decrease in the coming decades. Together with water impoverishment, aquatic degradation may well aﬀect related biodiversity, public health standards and the conduct of many economic activities. With a view to tackling the shortcomings of the existing EU water regime and to improve the status of such waters, a regulatory reforming process has led to the adoption of a new Water Framework Directive (WFD).3 The question arises as to whether this instrument is capable of establishing the foundations for an EU sustainable water policy. While it is obviously too early to draw any conclusions on the appropriateness and design of the new water regime, this contribution seeks to shed some analytical light on certain key aspects, particularly those that bring about regulatory and policy novelty, including, inter alia, the establishment of an integrative water management system...
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