Guidance Documents

Why produce guidance documents?

The CIS was established to assist Member States implement the WFD in order to avoid duplication of effort and to minimise the risks of poor application. To achieve this, a number of key activities were identified. Included in these activities is sharing information and elaborating guidance of key technical issues.

What is the purpose of the guidance documents?

Guidance documents are informal, non-legally binding documents that have been produced to assist Member States implement the WFD. Guidance documents have been prepared covering many aspects of implementation, such as establishing monitoring programmes, undertaking economic analyses, engaging the public, developing classification systems, how to identify and designate heavily modified and artificial water bodies etc. The guidance documents are intended to provide an overall methodological approach, but these require tailoring to specific national circumstances.

As of October 2005, fourteen guidance documents have been finalised. Seven of the guidance documents have associated policy summaries that provide an overview of the documents. Since the last edition of this CD ROM in 2003, three new guidance documents have been produced:

  • The role of wetlands in the WFD;
  • Overall approach to classification of ecological status and ecological potential; and,
  • Guidance on the Intercalibration process 2004-2006

Brief summaries of these, and the remaining eleven documents are provided below. To view the complete document and associated policy summary (if available), click on the relevant report cover.

As new guidance documents are finalised, they will be made available on CIRCA.

Summary of Guidance Documents

Guidance Document No. 1 Economics and the Environment The Implementation Challenge of the Water Framework Directive  WATECO (2003)

This guidance document provides a detailed account of the processes that need to be considered for the economic analysis and the presentation of these analyses required by the Directive at the end of 2004. The economic elements and their role in water policy-making are explained, and the Directive’s references to economics and its economic requirements are reviewed.

Guidance Document No. 2 Identification of Water Bodies (2003)

This guidance document provides both definitions of, and practical guidelines for identifying WFD water body types, considering groundwater and surface water bodies. A general account is provided, as well as a detailed method of identification.

Guidance Document No. 3 Analysis of Pressures and Impacts  Impress (2003)

This guidance document provides an overview of the part that pressures and impact analysis take in relation to: the characterisation of water bodies, and the development of monitoring programmes, river basin management plans and programmes of measures. A general approach to analysis is described, including the key steps that need to be carried out, as well as methodologies for identifying pressures and impacts on surface and ground waters.

Guidance Document No. 4 Identification and Designation of Heavily Modified and Artificial Water Bodies – HMWB (2003)

This guidance document describes the process for designating artificial and heavily modified waterbodies in accordance with the WFD, including the provisional identification in the first river basin planning cycle. Descriptions of establishing reference conditions, environmental objectives on which status classification is based, and the actions required to ascertain the appropriate values of maximum ecological potential (MEP) and good ecological potential (GEP) are provided. A summary of the issues related to costs and measures throughout the process are also presented in this document.

Guidance Document No. 5 Transitional and Coastal Waters - Typology, Reference Conditions and Classifications Systems – COAST (2003)

This guidance document defines coastal and transitional waters and recommends suitable methods for assigning coastal water bodies to river basin districts. A framework for the identification of reference conditions is developed, guidance on carrying out the initial physical characterisation of water body types and an explanation of biological reference conditions and their use is provided. The document also introduces the principles of classification and the requirements of classification tools for coastal and transitional waters.

Guidance Document No. 6 Towards Guidance on Establishment of the Intercalibration Network and the Process on the Intercalibration Exercise – Intercalibration (2003)

This guidance document discusses the purpose of intercalibration and outlines the process for carrying out the Intercalibration Exercise, in accordance with Article 21 and Annex V of the Directive. A synthesis of intercalibration processes, the key steps and the possible bottlenecks are identified and the implications of limited intercalibration with long and short-term solutions are also presented. Guidance for the 2002-2004 exercise, regarding to establishing a network of intercalibration sites, is provided and preliminary guidance for the 2005-2006 intercalibration exercise is also addressed.

Guidance Document No. 7 Monitoring under the Water Framework Directive – Monitoring (2003)

This guidance document explains the fundamental concepts and terms in the Directive relating to monitoring, including the term ‘water body’, and the concepts of ‘risk, precision and confidence’. Guidance is provided on a number of quality elements for parameters relating to surface and ground waters, and the design and implementation of monitoring programmes. An overview of current monitoring programmes in Member States is also provided.

Guidance Document No. 8 . Public Participation in Relation to the Water Framework Directive – Public Participation (2003)

This guidance document provides specific assistance on how to involve the public in the different levels of the implementation process. An outline of the general planning stages is provided. The document describes the processes required for active involvement, consultation and provision of access to information and background documents. Indicators for reporting and evaluation are considered, and requirements for capacity building and investment in order to build relations and understanding between different stakeholders are also addressed

Guidance Document No. 9 Implementing the Geographical Information System Elements (GIS) of the Water Framework of the Water Framework Directive – GIS (2003)

This guidance document outlines the requirements of maps that are to be reported to European Commission, and clarifies when they are needed. Guidance is provided on the different GIS layers that make up these maps, the level of detail and spatial accuracy expected from the data and the reference system to use for reporting the data. Data validation procedures and standards that should be followed are also covered. The format for transferring layers to the Commission in the short term is defined, and discussion of the development of a long-term integrated reporting system is discussed.

Guidance Document No.10 Rivers and Lakes – Typology, Reference Conditions and Classification Systems – REFCOND (2003)

This guidance document examines the methods and principals, and describes specific tools for establishing reference conditions and class boundaries between high, good and moderate ecological status, for rivers and lakes. Future developments and examples of good practice of the suggested approach of the tools are also provided.

Guidance Document No. 11 Planning Processes – Planning Processes (2003)

This guidance document provides an explanation of what is required in respect to River Basin Management (RBM) Planning, and an examination of the concept of water planning is provided. An overview of good practices is provided and the main tasks that need to be undertaken in the preparation of an RBM plan are identified, and timeframes provided.

Guidance Document No. 12 The Role of Wetlands in the Water Framework Directive – Wetlands (2003)

(NEW IN 2005 CD-ROM) This guidance document provides a functional description of wetlands coherent with the purposes of the Directive. The specific role of wetlands in achieving the environmental objectives, for surface, ground and coastal and transitional waters are demonstrated. An analysis of relationships between wetlands and surface water bodies, terrestrial ecosystems and other elements of surface water having an influence on water bodies and catchment management is introduced, as well as the relationship between heavily modified and artificial water bodies. Pressures and impacts on wetlands are discussed, and the role of wetlands in the Programme of Measures (PoM). Wetland monitoring and issues that may be further developed are also addressed.

Guidance Document No. 13 Overall Approach to the Classification of Ecological Status and Ecological Potential – Classification (2005)

(NEW IN 2005 CD-ROM) This guidance document outlines the role of the general physico-chemical quality elements in ecological classification, as well as the general guidance on the assessment of ecological status and potential leading to the overall ecological classification of water bodies for the purposes of the Directive. The guidance draws on existing guidance documents like REFCOND, COAST, MONITORING, and HWWB.  Guidance on achieving better conclusions from monitoring data is also provided.

Guidance Document No. 14 Guidance on the Intercalibration Process 2004-2006 – Intercalibration 2004-2006 (2005)

(NEW IN 2005 CD-ROM) This guidance document follows on from the Intercalibration Guidance Document (No. 6) by providing an overview of the key principals of the intercalibration process, and the options for carrying out the Intercalibration Exercise. A summary of what should be in the final intercalibration report is also provided, as is the organisation of the work and the required timetables. A framework for deriving class boundary values consistent with the WFD normative definitions, a list of geographic intercalibration groups (GIGS) and an example of a hybrid intercalibration option is given.