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A COMPARATIVE EVALUATION OF SELECTED ASPECTS OF THE EUS WATER FRAMEWORK DIRECTIVE VERSUS THE U.S. CLEAN WATER ACT

Congress: 2008
Author(s): Timothy D. Steele, Sven Kralisch, Detlef Klein, Wolfgang Fluegel
Timothy D. Steele (1), Sven Kralisch (2), Detlef Klein (3), and Wolfgang Fluegel (4) (1) President, TDS Consulting Inc., Denver, CO (USA) and Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung Research Scholar, Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena (FSU-Jena), Germany; (2) ILMS Research Project Manager, Department of Geoinformatics, Hydrology, and Modelling, FSU-Jena, Germany; (3) Head of Strategy, Hessenwasser, and Managing Director of Rhine Main Water Research, Gross Gerau, Germany; and (4) Department Head, Geoinformatics, Hydrology, and Modelling, FSU-Jena, Germany.

Keyword(s): water- quality management, Water Framework Directive, U.S. Clean Water Act, water-quality monitoring, river-basin plans/management, source-water protection
Article:
AbstractOverview of Proposed Presentation Since its formal transition into national laws in December 2003, key elements of the European Unions Water Framework Directive (EU-WFD) are being implemented by the member states. Of particular interest for this comparative evaluation with U.S.-based water-quality regulations was the March 2007 milestone for design and execution of monitoring networks to complement existing information and data compiled in earlier (December 2004) environmental-assessment documents. The next EU-WFD key element involves development of river-basin management plans for all the identified river-basin districts. This major policy attempts to provide standardization among the EU member countries for major river basins and other water bodies throughout Europe. A preliminary (unpublished) assessment of these and other key elements and milestones was conducted earlier in the spring of 2007, including relevant comparisons with U.S. water-quality management regulations (Clean Water Act with amendments, including source-water protection aspects). Extensive research was conducted, principally benefiting from numerous relevant websites addressing the technical, institutional, and economic aspects of water-quality management. Coincidentally, the webstream link for the European Water Conference 2007 held in Brussels, Belgium during March 22-23 provided participants in attendance or linked by computer with a unique opportunity to learn about progress to date as well as ongoing challenges in striving to achieve EU-WFD objectives. This Conference was well organized and executed; criticisms and recommendations resulting from candid discussions will hopefully be carefully considered, in particular regarding the WFDs Common Implementation Strategy (CIS). This preliminary assessment focused on the following aspects: Basic water-quality management legislation (both for the EU and U.S.), Institutions and stakeholder identification and involvement, WFD-related technical tools, including examples from academia and with a special interest by major water-supply enterprises, Critical overview of monitoring-program efforts, and Demonstration of approaches and challenges, drawing from selected case studies for Germany, large international river basins, and Greece. Three principles inherent in water-quality management (both EU and U.S. cases) have to be addressed and accepted: What constitutes good chemical and ecological status, How clean is clean, and Willingness (or ability)-to-pay principle. The EU-WFD advances the knowledge and understanding of these key aspects, resulting in a net benefit over the earlier Clean Water Act in the U.S. Further investigation and analysis for this assessment is envisioned during the spring of 2008 while again based at the University of Jena, Germany. It is anticipated that the basic findings will be further refined or enhanced by this additional research effort. Accordingly, results and findings will be highlighted at this Congress.
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