The EU Water Framework Directive

EU Water Framework Directive (WFD), which is complemented by the EU Groundwater Directive, includes the most important legistion that the EU Commission has introduced to date to improve and protect water resources in Europe. The Directive provides the basis for a concerted effort to improve the ecological and chemical status of the rivers and lakes, coastal beaches and groundwater in all the European Union.
Direktorater med formelt ansvar og/eller faglige oppgaver tilknyttet gjennomføringen av Vanndirektivet i Norge (illustrasjon Miljødirektoratet)

In most of Norway, good water is easily accessible for use by industry, for recreation and drinking. Norway has committed to improve management of these resources and to implement the WFD and various clauses of the EEA Agreement to achieve and maintain "good status" for all waters.  Norway is connected to the European Union as an EFTA country, and voluntarily participates in implementing the WFD.  Hence, the EU Directive has been incorporated into Norwegian legistation. The legislation gives the Ministry of Climate and Environment the authority to assign other norwegian ministries and their underlying agencies formal responsibilities and  tasks related to fulfilling the aims of the EU Directive.

One of the main tasks outlined in the WFD is to conduct a assessments of the current status of the Norway's water resources through mapping and monitoring, which includes identifying significant water management issues. WFD gives guidance as to how this should be coordinated by EU member states. Countries should provide the data collected via mapping and monitoring to the EU/EFTA Surveillance Authority, as well provide details of any planned environmental protection and counter-measures. The WFD sets out clear deadlines for each of the requirements to be met by its participants: the key milestones are listed in displayed in the figure below.

Faser i planlegging og gjennomføring i det langsiktige arbeidet med Vanndirektivet (illustrasjon Miljødirektoratet)
Phases of long-term planning and implementation of the EU Water Directive Framework  in Norway (figure: The  Ministry of Climate and Environment of Norway).

Norway is divided into 11 national River Basin Districts which are further divided into sub-districts. The districts are responsible for compiling data, as well as to develop regional water management plans and action programs. Data and environmental conditions are entered online via the mapping tool Vann-nett, a platform which is open to the general public. Vann-nett provides data for the EU's web portal, Water Information System for Europe (WISE), which serves to collect and assemble data and information from institutions across Europe involved in water issues.

Inndeling av landet i vannregioner og vannområder (illustrasjon Miljødirektoratet)
 The water districts and subdistricts in Norway (figures: The Ministry of Climate and Environment).

Although NGU does not have a formal role in the Norway's pursuit of WFD, the Survey contributes to the effort through its management of the national groundwater database GRANADA  that contains important geological information that can be used to categorize and classify groundwater.  In collaboration with the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE), NGU also conducts reference monitoring of groundwater to establish both quantitative and qualitative baseline values for LGN (a national wide groundwater data service). NGU is represented in the Norway's national coordination and implementation group (a Committee of Directorates) for WFD chaired by the Norwegian Environmental Agency.