Water Framework Directive

In 2000, the "Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework for the Community action in the field of water policy" or, in short, the EU Water Framework Directive ( WFD) was adopted.

Agriculture in Europe accounts ‘for around 33 % of total water use’ and is the ‘largest source of nutrient pollution in water’, therefore, further development of the sustainability of the CAP and direct regional and local initiatives between water authorities and farmers are urgently needed to alleviate the most important agricultural pressures. (EEA Report No 1/2012 ‘Towards efficient use of water resources in Europe’.)

Several countries in Europe report that groundwater has concentrations of pesticides that exceed the quality standards. Across this European dataset, about 7 % of the groundwater stations reported excessive levels for one or more pesticides. Atrazine and its metabolite Desethylatrazine are the pesticides most frequently detected above the quality standard throughout Europe. Groundwater at risk appears to be located in areas used intensively for agriculture. Even though groundwater and surface water are used as a drinking water resource, there is limited information available on pesticide contamination, and a lack of reliable and comparable data. (Agri-environmental indicator - pesticide pollution of water, Eurostat)

PAN Europe works on the contamination of European freshwater systems by pesticides, giving a special emphasis on the effects of endocrine disrupting pesticides on aquatic ecosystems.

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PAN Europe gratefully acknowledges the financial support from the European Union, European Commission, DG Environment, Life+ programme. Sole responsibility for this publication lies with the authors and the funders are not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.