As part of the Environment Agency’s River Basin Planning consultation under the Water Framework Directive, farmers, conservation groups and industry are being invited to contribute view on how to best tackle significant water management issues.

River Basin Planning: Summary of significant water management issues is the second step in the Environment Agency work towards achieving the ecological standards defined in the European Water Framework Directive by 2015.

Martin Booth, Water Framework Directive Programme Executive, said.

“There has been very good progress in recent years in improving the health of our water environment. But if pressures such as pollution and flow problems are not managed properly in the future, there is a risk that many rivers, lakes and groundwater sites will not meet the environment standards we need to see.

“Over the next two years we will work together with different sectors – from industry to farming representatives and conservation groups – to determine how best to manage water within our river basins.”

Issues include how to diffuse pollution and river flows and abstraction, in an effort to further protect and improve rivers, lakes and groundwater. Each of the River Basin Districts across England and Wales will have a management plan covering the land and associated rivers, lakes, groundwater estuaries and coastal waters within the basin.

The consultation covers 10 River Basin Districts – Anglian, Dee, Humber, Northumbria, North West, Severn, South East, South West, Thames and Western Wales.

Submissions can be viewed and contributed online at through to January 2008.

“We have set out what we believe are the most significant water management issues facing each River Basin District.

“The Water Framework Directive allows us to think about our water environment as a whole – whereas in the past, we’ve often worked on separate plans for addressing different environmental issues. With river basin planning, we now have the opportunity to improve, protect and manage our water environment in a more integrated way,” Martin Booth said.

Dana Gornitzki

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