Are the regional water authorities assessming of the impact of small hydraulic systems on water quality in accordance with the european water framework directive
Jong, ET de
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According to the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the Weser arrest, it isn’t allowed to cause any degradation of the water quality. This rule is challenging for regional water authorities and raises the following question: To what extent does, the practice of assessing and addressing the impacts of small hydraulic structures on the water qualities by the regional water authorities, meet the standards set by EU law? To answer this question, the following steps are taken. First an framework is created, which is used to analyses the assessment practice of the regional water authority Hollandse Delta (WSHD). In order to find out whether the practice of the WSHD is representative for all regional water authorities the results of the case study are translated into survey statements and questions. Most of the regional water authorities reacted on the survey. In the analytical framework water quality has been defined. Water quality consist out of two categories: the chemical component and the ecological component. This definition is used by the EU in the WFD. Monitoring water quality is taking place in designated WFD waters that represent a larger water system. How to monitor is described in the WFD documents and is translated by the STOWA in the nine ecological key factors. In a water system several kinds of small hydraulic structures can be created, all of these small hydraulic structures may have negative effects on the water quality. The case study shows the effect that small hydraulic structures have on water quality but how this can be assessed is barely described in policy documents of WSHD. There is only stated that no significant degradation is allowed. There is a new policy document of the WSHD coming, which states that the water quality may not be reduced. Clear strategy for assessing impacts of small hydraulic structures on the water quality however is missing. This cause some challenges that the WSHD faces like how to act on the contradiction between the current and the new policy documents. The survey reveals that most regional water authorities struggle with the same question of how to assess the change in water quality caused by the construction of small hydraulic structures. The conclusion, the assessing and addressing of small hydraulic structures is done to a limited extant and therefor the standards by the EU are met with a limited extant.
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