contents table
Water Framework Directive
Article 1

Article 1 — Purpose

The purpose of this Directive is to establish a framework for the protection of inland surface waters, transitional waters, coastal waters and groundwater which:

  1. prevents further deterioration and protects and enhances the status of aquatic ecosystems and, with regard to their water needs, terrestrial ecosystems and wetlands directly depending on the aquatic ecosystems;
  2. promotes sustainable water use based on a long-term protection of available water resources;
  3. aims at enhanced protection and improvement of the aquatic environment, inter alia, through specific measures for the progressive reduction of discharges, emissions and losses of priority substances and the cessation or phasing-out of discharges, emissions and losses of the priority hazardous substances;
  4. ensures the progressive reduction of pollution of groundwater and prevents its further pollution, and
  5. contributes to mitigating the effects of floods and droughts

and thereby contributes to:

  • the provision of the sufficient supply of good quality surface water and groundwater as needed for sustainable, balanced and equitable water use,
  • a significant reduction in pollution of groundwater,
  • the protection of territorial and marine waters, and
  • achieving the objectives of relevant international agreements, including those which aim to prevent and eliminate pollution of the marine environment, by Community action under Article 16(3) to cease or phase out discharges, emissions and losses of priority hazardous substances, with the ultimate aim of achieving concentrations in the marine environment near background values for naturally occurring substances and close to zero for man-made synthetic substances.