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Implementation of the Water Framework Directive in Spain: future perspectives. Review

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Authors: Sergio Navarro‑Sousa y Vicente Estruch‑Guitart
Issue: In Press
Topic: Agricultural Economics
Keywords: good status, water bodies, ecosystems, "Fitness check", management

The entry into force twenty years ago of the new community framework for action in the field of water policy opened a new path in water planning processes. The Water Framework Directive pursues the objective of meeting all demands by ensuring the good status of the water bodies of the demarcations and their associated ecosystems. To do this, it integrates novel mechanisms such as economic rationality in allocation and public participation in the planning processes. However, after the application of programmes of measures, at present, almost half of the water bodies in the European Union as a whole and half of the Spanish ones have not managed to achieve the environmental objectives set out in article 4, a proposed milestone for 2015. Faced with this situation, some Member States and economic sectors advocate its adaptation or modification. Nevertheless, the European Commission after the review process called "Fitness check" concludes that the Directive is adequate and urges the Member States to accelerate its implementation. The slow improvement in the state of the Spanish water bodies between planning cycles establishes that the objectives of this review article are: a) to assess whether the objectives of the Directive are achievable and attempt to identify the causes that have led to its non-compliance and, b) to try to identify the future challenges of the Directive in connecting the resource with territory, economic development and sustainability.


Navarro‑Sousa S, Estruch‑Guitart V (en prensa). Implementación de la Directiva Marco del Agua en España: perspectivas futuras. Revisión bibliográfica. ITEA‑Información Técnica Económica Agraria. Vol. xx: 1-21.

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