Helping to deliver the WFD

This section provides a brief description of some of the large number of projects being undertaken across Europe to develop the tools by which EU Member States, their regulatory authorities and the general public can act to deliver the objectives of the WFD. The projects described below contain large numbers of useful reports and web links.

Climate and Lake Impacts in Europe (CLIME)

The EU CLIME project ran from 2002-2005. The aim was to develop a range of methods and models that can be used to manage lakes and catchments under current and future climatic conditions. CLIME also had a decision-support component which developed an integrated climate-catchment, socio-economic tool with a graphic interface and uncertainty-analysis capability. The project was part of ‘CatchMod’ (the EU catchment modelling cluster).

The results are summarised in:

George, G. (2010) The Impact of Climate Change on European Lakes. Springer
ISBN 9789048129447


Towards European Harmonised Procedures for
quantification of nutrient losses from diffuse sources (Euroharp)


or ( and search for Project Code ES0102

This project ran from 2002-2005. Implementation of the WFD calls for the development of harmonised methodologies and tools to quantify nutrient losses from diffuse sources. EUROHARP compared the performance of 9 quantification tools by applying them on a network of 17 catchments throughout Europe. The project had 22 partners from 17 countries and was co-ordinated by the Norwegian Institute for water research. Loughs Derg and Dee were the study area in Ireland and the River Ouse in the UK.

North Sea and Regional and Local Implementation of the WFD (NOLIMP)


The NOLIMP Project ran from 2002-2006 and was a collaborative project, involving regions in six countries which border the North Sea, and the efforts of these countries to improve their water quality.

The project was a local implementation of the WFD. In each of its regions, pilot projects were conducted to test innovative technologies for improving water quality. An important element of the project was a study into the costs and benefits of water quality measures being implemented in the various countries, this being in line with the obligation stated in the Water Framework Directive to find cost-effective solutions. The River Dee in Aberdeenshire was the UK project.

Management of the Environment and Resources using
Integrated Techniques (MERIT)


MERIT ran from 2001-2004 and aimed to develop an integrated, water resource management methodology suitable for use at the river basin scale throughout Europe. This involved developing techniques that effectively engage stakeholder groups in the decision-making process and adapting a model-based decision support technique to the problem of integrated water resource management.

The technique is based on the concept of Bayesian networks. The River Lodden in Berkshire was the UK study area.

Fresh Water Integrated Resource Management with Agents (FIRMA)


This project was concerned with improving water resource planning by developing and applying agent-based modelling to integrate physical, hydrological, social and economic aspects of water resource management.

The project was designed to develop co-operation between water resource decision makers and experts in water resource management and in agent-based social simulation. Also it develops agent-based models for application to issues of water treatment, scarcity and planning.

The project has produced a tutorial course targeted at people who want to learn about the application of simulation models to water resource management. The River Thames is the UK case study.

WaterLIFE project - July 2014 to June 2017

LIFE WaterLIFE - Delivery of the Water Framework Directive through collaborative action between civil society and the private sector.

The long-term goal of the WaterLIFE project is to contribute to the delivery of the WFD across the EU, by helping to restore rivers to good ecological status.


WaterLIFE was a three year project that ran from July 2014 to June 2017 and was funded through the EU's LIFE+ Programme for the Environment. It was led by WWF-UK, The Rivers Trust and Westcountry Rivers Trust, and with a wide range of delivery stakeholders. It sought to accelerate the implementation of the WFD and improve the freshwater environment.



The WaterLIFE Declaration

The WaterLIFE declaration sets out three principles (Partnership, Equity and Collaboration) aimed at delivering the conditions needed to achieve the vision of healthy rivers for people and nature.


WaterLIFE Layman’s Report – September 2017


Natural Course Project: Our Water: Our Future

Natural Course is an EU funded LIFE Integrated Project that aims to build capacity to protect and improve the water environment in the North West River Basin District over a 10-year programme of work. The Irwell catchment is the main focus of the project in the Greater Manchester area during the first phase of the project.


Irwell Catchment Partnership Evidence Review Tool – A Natural Course Story Map   -July 2018

A catchment ‘story map’ tool has been developed through Natural Course by GIS experts within The Rivers Trust, who worked closely with the Irwell Catchment Partnership and its host organisation, Groundwork MSSTT. This tool has been designed to support the Irwell Catchment Partnership's integrated catchment planning process of reviewing evidence and turning this in to a funded action plan.




EIP Water: How can research projects contribute to solve water challenges - the case of the Water Framework Directive (WFD)?




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