River Basin Network on Water Framework Directive and Agriculture
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.