A requirement of the Water Framework Directive is to report the physical modifications and uses that have resulted in a heavily modified water body.
This dataset lists the physical modifications and uses that have resulted in designation. It was produced for the 2016 River Basin Management Plans data reporting to the European Commission known as WISE. The full reporting data will be accessible at http://cdr.eionet.europa.eu/gb/eu/wfd2016/
For surface waters the overall goal of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) is for Member States to achieve "good ecological and chemical status" in all bodies of surface water by 2015. Some water bodies may not achieve this objective for different reasons. Under certain conditions the WFD permits Member States to identify and designate artificial water bodies (AWB) and heavily modified water bodies (HMWB) according to Article 4(3) WFD. The assignment of less stringent objectives to water bodies and an extension of the timing for achieving the objectives is possible under other particular circumstances. These derogations are laid out in Articles 4(4) and 4(5) of the WFD.
HMWB are bodies of water which, as a result of physical alterations by human activity, are substantially changed in character and cannot, therefore, meet "good ecological status" (GES). AWB are water bodies created by human activity. Instead of "good ecological status", the environmental objective for HMWB and for AWB is good ecological potential (GEP), which has to be achieved by 2015.
The concept of HMWB was introduced into the WFD in recognition that many water bodies in Europe have been subject to major physical alterations so as to allow for a range of water uses. Article 4(3)(a) lists the following types of activities which were considered likely to result in a water body being designated as a HMWB:
- navigation, including port facilities, or recreation;
- activities for the purposes of which water is stored, such as drinking-water supply, power generation or irrigation;
- water regulation, flood protection, land drainage;
- other equally important sustainable human development activities.
These specified uses tend to require considerable hydromorphological changes to water bodies of such a scale that restoration to “good ecological status” (GES) may not be achievable even in the long-term without preventing the continuation of the specified use. The concept of HMWB was created to allow for the continuation of these specified uses which provide valuable social and economic benefits but at the same time allow mitigation measures to improve water quality.
In the context of designation, physical alterations mean any significant alterations that have resulted in substantial changes to the hydromorphology of a surface water body such that the surface water body is substantially changed in character. In general, these hydromorphological characteristics are long-term and alter both the morphological and hydrological characteristics of a water body.
Definitions of terms
- Locks: device for raising and lowering boats between stretches of water of different levels on river and canal waterways.
- Weirs / dam / reservoir: transversal barrier constructed across a river or a lake discharge for the purpose of creating a water impoundment.
- Channelisation / straightening / bed stabilisation: any permanent modification which longitudinally affects river banks and/or river bed, including changing direction, reducing meandering, stabilisation of river banks, etc.
- Dredging / Channel maintenance: modifications due to regular maintenance of rivers through dredging for any given purpose, usually navigation or flood protection
- Land reclamation / coastal modifications / ports: modification of a water body as a result of the creation of new land from ocean, riverbeds, or lake (e.g. for the purpose of expanding or creating a port).
- Land drainage: modification of a water body as a result of the artificial change to the water level intended to make available existing land for a particular purpose (often for agricultural production or for urbanisation).
Full technical guidance about the requirements of the reporting is available in the guidance section: http://cdr.eionet.europa.eu/help/WFD/WFD_521_2016
Further guidance regarding heavily modified water bodies has been produced by the European Commission and is available here: https://circabc.europa.eu/sd/a/f9b057f4-4a91-46a3-b69a-e23b4cada8ef/Guidance%20No%204%20-%20heavily%20modified%20water%20bodies%20-%20HMWB%20(WG%202.2).pdf Attribution statement: Environment Agency copyright and/or database right 2016. All rights reserved.