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River Basin Network on Water Framework Directive and Agriculture

River Basin Network on Water Framework Directive and Agriculture

Practical Experiences and Knowledge Exchange in Support of the WFD Implementation (2010-2012)

Agricultural management is a key priority area for achieving the objective of good ecological status of European waters under the Water Framework Directive (WFD). This report presents the outcome of work by the River Basin Network (RBN) on WFD and Agriculture in the period from 2010 to 2012. The RBN is a technical network established within the Expert Group on WFD and Agriculture. Comprised of 21 River Basins representing 14 Member States, the RBN mandate was to facilitate exchange of practical experiences and knowledge on good practices in support of the WFD implementation. The publication is available for download.

Specifically, its aims were to:

  • Evaluate selected agricultural measures in terms of a set of parameters, including environmental effectiveness related to water protection and other environmental objectives, implementation of measures in different river basins, legal and governance issues, social barriers and funding instruments.
  • Evaluate specific issues in River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs).
  • Provide inputs to further improve the Catalogue of Agricultural Measures

The Ecologic Institute supported the work of RBN in 2012 as part of its involvement in the study on the "Comparative Study of Pressures and Measures in the Major River Basin Management Plans in the EU." This study entailed a top-down assessment of RBMPs on different issues, providing support to the Impact Assessment of the Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Waters. The Ecologic Institute was responsible for the evaluation of hydro-morphological and agricultural pressures and related measures. The agricultural task also facilitated the coordination between the study and the RBN, as well as provided conceptual and organizational support to the RBN.

The agricultural measures selected for evaluation included:

  • buffer strips
  • establishment and preservation of wetlands
  • reduced water abstraction
  • reduced fertilization
  • avoiding spreading fertilizer and manure at high risk times and places
  • plant cover in winter
  • catch crops
  • application techniques of manure
  • capacity of manure storage
  • erosion-minimising cultivation systems

In addition, the specific issues analysed were:

  • indicators to monitor the implementation of Programmes of Measures in RBMPs
  • financing the agricultural measures
  • farmers’ involvement, strategies and experiences
  • cost-effectiveness of agricultural measures
  • comparison of policies and implementations strategies to reduce diffuse agricultural pollution
  • irrigation related measures.

The report provides a summary of key issues for each technical measure, as well as full-length factsheets on each measure, and individual reports on specific issues.

The report [pdf, 6.9 MB, English] is available for download.


Somma, Francesca et al. 2013: RIVER BASIN NETWORK on Water Framework Directive and Agriculture Practical Experiences and Knowledge Exchange in Support of the WFD Implementation (2010-2012). [JRC Scientific and Policy Reports Report EUR25790EN]. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

Anni Karhunen
Olli Madekivi
Pekka Paavilainen
Daniel Assfeld
Thomas Borchers
Jan Görgen
Karin Heiner
Melanie Hölzemer
Marietta Kahlenberg
Walter Köppen
Brigitte Lambert
Philippe Maire
Claude Neuberg
Leonardo Gatta
Remo Pelillo
Lucia Fiumi
Isabella Bonamini
Vera Corbelli
Fausto Marra
Antonio Loporto
Raffaele Giordano
Vito Iacobellis
Francesco Falaschi
Ilaria Gabbrielli
Rogelio Galvan
Ute Kuhn
Benjamin Schmidt
Jannette MacDonald
Paul Brison
Helen Taylor
Florin Moldovan
Gabriel Dragoi
Sorina Chibelean
Ole Tyrsted Jørgensen
Emilie Nahon
Nicolas Domange
Anne Arneberg
Terje Sjovaag
Vegard Naess
Elin Valand
Svein Skøien
Tyra Risnes
Ton Aas
Milvi Aun
Peeter Marksoo
Martin Larsson
Marta Bzdzion
Rob van der Veeren
Marta Valente
Nicolas Rouyer
Elina Nikkolai
Emeric Anguiano
Francesca Somma
978-92-79-29940-7 (pdf)
1831-9424 (online)
262 pp.
Project ID
Table of Contents

Executive Summary
Evaluation Of Selected Agricultural Measures (Extended Summaries)
1. Buffer Strips
2. Establishment And Preservation Of Wetlands
3. Charge For Water Abstraction/Reduce Water Abstraction
4. Reduced Fertilization
5. Avoiding Spreading Fertiliser And Manure At High Risk Times And Places
6. Plant Cover In Winter
7. Catch Crops
8. Application Techniques Of Manure
9. Provide Capacity Of Manure Storages
10. Reduced Tillage / Conservation Tillage / Erosion Control Measures
Specific Issues Related To River Basin Management Plans
WG1: Indicators To Monitor The Implementation Of Programme Of Measure
1. Introduction
2. Objectives
3. Summary and conclusions
4. Descriptive indicators of implementation
WG2: Financing The Agricultural Measures In The Programme Of Measure
1. Introduction
2. River Basin Network Experiences on financing of measures
3. Summary and conclusions
WG3: Farmers Involvement, Strategies And Experiences
1. Background
2. Introduction
3. Framework for the analysis
4. Results from the RBN
5. Discussion: the main barriers and bridges to farmers’ involvement.
6. Concluding remarks: clues from the cases studies
WG5: Cost Effectiveness Of Agricultural Measures
1. Background
2. Introduction
3. River Basin Network Experiences
4. Recommendations
WG6: Comparison Of Policies And Implementation Strategies To Reduce Diffuse Agricultural Pollution (Implementation Of The Pom)
1. Introduction
2. Objective what is the working group trying to achieve?
3. Summary
4. Overview of approaches
WG7: Irrigation Related Measures
1. Introduction
2. Background. Why irrigation needs a specific approach?
3. Issues, practices and measures on irrigation and wfd
4. Stakeholder participation and key learning points
5. Recommendations
ANNEX 1: FACTSHEETS (full version)
1. Buffer strips
2. Establishment and preservation of wetlands
3. Charge for water abstraction / reduce water abstraction
4. Reduced fertilizations
5 Avoiding spreading fertiliser and manure at high risk times and places
6 Plant cover in winter
7 Catch Crops
8 Application techniques of manure
9 Provide capacity of manure storages
10 Reduced tillage / conservation tillage / erosion control measures