Project description

The Water Framework Directive (WFD) was adopted by the EU in December 2000. The WFD sets the framework for
future management of the aquatic environment in the EU Member States. The aim of the WFD is to ensure that all parts of the aquatic environment, i.e. inland surface waters, transitional waters and groundwater, achieve “good status” by the year 2015 at the latest. This is to be achieved through programmes of measures in which each river basin is treated as a coherent unit.

To facilitate this holistic and ambitious reorganization of the EU’s aquatic environment policy the EU water directors have agreed upon a coordinated strategy for implementation of the WFD – the Common Implementation Strategy (CIS). This strategy is subdivided into two phases. Phase 1 (2002–2004), which primarily focused on testing the EU Guidance Documents, has now been completed, and Phase II (2005–2006) is underway.

Phase II primarily consists of gaining the experience and developing the methods necessary to draw up the monitoring programmes and programmes of measures for the pilot river basins prior to the WFD deadlines, and of gaining experience with specific case studies focussing on selected issues, among others the relationship between the WFD and the EU Common Agricultural Policy. In connection with Phase II, a number of new working groups have been established under the CIS. Phase II is being carried out in an expanded series of pilot river basins (PRBs), of which 20 have been designated so far, and in close cooperation between the pilot river basin project management teams and the joint working groups established by the EU under the CIS.

The Odense river basin is one of the European PRBs included in a CIS “test study”. The reason for designating Odense river basin as a PRB is that the basin contains a broad spectrum of Danish aquatic and terrestrial habitat types, as well as major sources of environmental pressure, e.g. Odense city, Fynsværket CHP plant and intensive agricultural production. At the same time, the river Odense Å and Odense Fjord are among the most well studied water bodies in the country.

The project entails drawing up a preliminary river basin management plan for the whole of Odense river basin (approx. 1,046 km 2 ), including a programme of measures based on operational quality objectives for watercourses, lakes, wetlands, Odense Fjord and the groundwater aimed at reducing pressure from agriculture, households and industry in order to achieve the EU’s “good status” objective for the aquatic environment.

The results of the PRB activities completed under Phase 1 of the CIS, including the provisional Article 5 Report for Odense PBR, show that a large proportion of the designated water bodies are at risk of failing to meet the WFD environmental objective of “good status” by 2015, to a large extent due to nutrient losses from agriculture. The EU water directors therefore concluded that there is a need to focus attention on agriculture in order to identify possible solutions to this problem and to achieve the best possible integration of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and initiatives pursuant to the WFD. Odense PRB has been selected as a pilot area in which attention will be specifically focused on eutrophication, including nutrient losses from agriculture and the possibilities to reduce these losses by the most cost-effective measures.

In order to facilitate preparation of the river basin management plan and the programme of measures for the Odense PRB, provisional programmes of measures were drawn up for each segment of the water cycle in 2004/05. These identified and assessed the measures needed to ensure attainment of the WFD environmental objectives, as well as the associated economic costs. The individual provisional programmes of measures are subsequently to be collated into a cost-effective integrated programme of measures for the river basin.

The WFD requires public participation in the management of the river basin. The pilot project is therefore being carried out in collaboration with the municipal authorities, enterprises and other stakeholders in the river basin, as well as with the national authorities. These have been invited to participate in regional and national project committees, respectively.

Download Project Plan in Danish from Here