Advertisement

The Evolution of European Water Policy

Towards integrated resource management at EU level
  • David Aubin
  • Frédéric Varone
Part of the Environment & Policy book series (ENPO, volume 40)

Abstract

Depletion of water resources in Europe has been a continuous process for forty years. Human water uses have increased throughout the period, with no consideration for a resource that was initially imagined to be self-purifying. Observations of the consequences of anthropocentric use were conducted starting in the 1960s, made possible by the development of science. Emerging scientific knowledge in the environmental field appeared with the concept of ecosystems (Delort and Walter, 2001). Since then, the environment progressively started to enter the arenas of decision-making at all levels. A series of measures being taken in order to improve the quality of surface water, are based on the assumption that if we dilute sufficiently polluted substances, then the self-purification capacities will restore the water. This initial idea is supplemented by a prohibition/regulation of emissions of hazardous substances, e.g. heavy metals, which cannot be diluted or absorbed by the environment. Since then, environmental legislation has developed according to a process of trial and error in parallel with quality assessment methods and data collection. Assessment reports continuously demonstrate that we are failing to reach our initial objectives, despite much improvement. “In spite of the introduction of water quality objectives in the EU and the attention given to water quality in the ecological action program for the central and eastern European countries, no global improvement of the quality of water bodies has been observed since 1989/90. The European countries refer to different evolutions without any coherent geographical structure. However some improvements are observed in the most polluted water bodies since the 1970s”.1 Nowadays we observe that additional measures are necessary to halt the depletion of the water resource.2

Keywords

European Union Member State Water Framework Directive Council Directive Hazardous Substance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Brussaard, W., T. G. Drupsteen et al. (1993) Milieurecht, 3rd ed., Zwolle, W. E. J. Tjeenk Willink.Google Scholar
  2. De Sadeleer, N. (2002) Environmental Principles. From Political Slogans to Legal Rules, Oxford, Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Delort, R. and F. Walter (2001) Histoire de l’environnement européen, Paris, PUF.Google Scholar
  4. Drobenko, B. (200 1) Directive Eau: un cadre en trompe l’oeil?, Revue européenne de droit de l’environnement, 2000(4), 381–402.Google Scholar
  5. Epiney, A. (2000) Flexible Integration and Environmental Policy in the EU. Legal Aspects, in: K. Holzinger and P. Knoepfel (eds.), Environmental Policy in a European Union of Variable Geometry? The Challenge of the Next Enlargement, Basel, Genf, München, Helbing Lichtenhahn, 39–64.Google Scholar
  6. European Commission (1972) A Community Programme in the Field of the Environment, EC Bull. 5–1972, Luxembourg, OPOCE.Google Scholar
  7. European Commission (1996) Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament. Community Water Policy, COM(96) 59 final of 21 February 1996, Luxembourg, OPOCE.Google Scholar
  8. European Commission (1998) Commission Report on the Measures Taken pursuant to Council Directive 91/676/EEC concerning the Protection of Waters against Pollution Caused by Nitrates from Agricultural Sources, COM(1998) 16 of 20 January 1998, Luxembourg, OPOCE.Google Scholar
  9. European Commission (2000a) Global Assessment. Europe’s Environment: What Directions for the Future?, Luxembourg, OPOCE.Google Scholar
  10. European Commission (2000b) Second Annual Survey on the Implementation and Enforcement of Community Environmental Law - January 1998 to December 1999,Working Document.Google Scholar
  11. European Commission (2001) Common Strategy on the Implementation of the Water Framework Directive, Strategic Document (unpublished).Google Scholar
  12. European Environment Agency (1998) Europe’s Environment: The Second Assessment, Luxembourg/Oxford, OPOCE/Elsevier Science Ltd.Google Scholar
  13. European Parliament (1996) Report on the Commission Communication to the Council and the European Parliament on European Community Water Policy, A4–0290/96, K.-H. Florenz (rapporteur).Google Scholar
  14. Jänicke, M. and H. Weidner (eds.) (2002) Capacity Building in National Environmental Policies. A Comparative Study of 17 Countries, Berlin, Springer.Google Scholar
  15. Kaika, M. and B. Page (2003) The Making of the EU Water Framework Directive: Shifting Choreographies of Governance and the Effectiveness of Environmental Lobbying,Working Paper, Oxford, School of Geography and the Environment (Online Version:http://www.geog.ox.ac.uk/research/wpapers/economic/wpg02–12.pdf
  16. Kallis, G. and P. Nijkamp (2000) Evolution of EU Water Policy: A Critical Assessment and a Hopeful Perspective, ZfU, 3, 301–335.Google Scholar
  17. Kristensen, P. and H. O. Hansen (1994) European Rivers and Lakes. Assessment of their Environmental State, Copenhagen, European Environmental Agency.Google Scholar
  18. Liefferink, D. and M. S. Andersen (2000) The Diffusion of Environmental Policies within the European Union - the Role of the ‘Pioneers’, Paper presented at the International Workshop in the ‘Diffusion of Environmental Policy Innovations’, Berlin, 8–9 December 2000.Google Scholar
  19. Sbragia, A. (1996) Environmental Policy: The ‘Push-Pull’ of Policy-Making, in: H. Wallace and W. Wallace (eds.) Policy-Making in the European Union, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 235–255.Google Scholar
  20. STOA (2000) Use of New Technologies and Cost of Water in View of the New Water Directive of the EU,working document for the STOA Panel, Luxembourg, European Parliament (PE 168440/FinSt.).Google Scholar
  21. Wallace, H. and W. Wallace (eds.) (1996) Policy-Making in the European Union, 3rd ed., Oxford, Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Aubin
    • 1
  • Frédéric Varone
    • 1
  1. 1.Université catholique de LouvainBelgium

Personalised recommendations