The EU is in its second water health monitoring and reporting cycle, which lasts from 2015 to 2021, as part of the EU Water Framework Directive, which includes 89,000 rivers, 18,000 lakes, 13,000 groundwater sites, and 3,600 coastal and estuary waters. According to the latest data, member states in the EU have made significant progress in improving water quality around the continent by enhancing wastewater treatment, decreasing pollutant runoff from farmland and establishing efforts to restore marine ecosystems. However, only 40% of monitored water bodies such as lakes, rivers, estuaries and coastal waters were classified as being in “good” or “high” standing during 2010 and 2015. Pollution from agriculture, industry and houses is still affecting 60% of water bodies.

Generally, groundwater sources are in good standing, with 74% of groundwater area achieving good chemical status and 89% achieving good quantitative status. A low chemical status refers to water contaminated with chemicals such as mercury and cadmium, which are commonly found in water samples. Estonia, northern Scandinavia, Scotland, Slovakia, Romania and many river basin districts in the Mediterranean have a higher proportion of surface water bodies that are in good or high standing, while European areas with central river basin districts, higher populations and agriculture generally failed to achieve a good or high standing. Thirty-eight percent of monitored lakes, rivers and other surface water bodies are in good chemical status.

Key goals for improving EU water health include dispersing source pollution, such as pollutant runoff from farms, and point source pollution, such as sewage wastewater discharge.

SourceEuropean Environment Agency

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