- On 23rd February 2021
- In General, Project Management, Water Management
- By William
Water is essential for life. Whether it is for drinking, cleaning, or sustaining the ecosystems which we rely on, water is arguably the most important resource to us. However, since the industrial revolution, our rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and boreholes have seen a major change from their natural state.
Environmental issues such as eutrophication (too many nutrients in the water), pollution with heavy metals and diminishing levels of ecological diversity are becoming more commonplace within many of the UK’s rivers and lakes due to mismanagement of our water ecosystems and previously unregulated pollution from agriculture and industrial activity.
In order to improve the conditions of our ground & surface water and mitigate these rising concerns, European Union (EU) legislation was put in place in 2000 with the goal of protecting and enhancing the quality of water environments across all EU member states. This is known as the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and was transposed into UK law in 2003.
Exo has been working on WFD assessments for the last 5 years and combined with our other services, we are very well placed to assess all potential impacts (positive or negative) of projects that are required to have a WFD assessment.
- Any works which could affect the condition of a classified waterbody requires an assessment under the Water Framework Directive.
- This WFD assessment needs to demonstrate how any adverse impacts will be mitigated and where feasible how the status of the waterbody can be enhanced in order to achieve the required good status targets.
The WFD sets out a plan to enhance the status (condition) and prevent any deterioration of water bodies and their ecosystems, reduce the pollution of these water bodies and to promote sustainable water use across all areas. This is achieved by regularly measuring the quality of a water body and determining which areas need improvement.
When looking at water bodies in England and Wales, we measure the quality of a water body with two main parameters, its ecological status (or potential) and its chemical status. These two parameters contain many “quality elements” which are measured with a rating from high to bad (good / fail for chemical status), where the overall parameter status is given by the worst-case classification from these elements. A high rating indicates a water body has minimal or no human interference, whereas a bad rating means a water body has been severely modified and polluted and thus in need of drastic intervention either from the state or local organisations.
The WFD aims to achieve a good or better rating for all surface water bodies, and for a good chemical status for all groundwater bodies by the year 2027. Should a water body be artificial or modified (for example in canals), the degree of ecological potential must be good or better in order to promote biodiversity in these areas.
By improving the condition of our waters through reduced pollution and regulation, we can sustain and safeguard the quality of our rivers and water courses, not just for us, but for other ecological communities that rely on these areas as much as we do.
In all our projects, we focus on promoting management measures to positively impact on the waterbody status. This is mostly by using nature-based solutions and identifying where benefits for both people and the environment can be made. If you’d like to find out more watch our videos above and feel free to drop us a message if you have any further questions about our services, and we will be delighted to answer all your queries.