The Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC)
establishes a framework for Community action
in the field of water policy. Its objectives
are to preserve, protect and improve the
quality of the aquatic environment and to
contribute to its prudent and rational utilisation.
Surface water and groundwater provide important
water resources for potable supply, general
amenity and aesthetic value, recreational
facilities, conservation and ecological
environments. Both water environments are
vulnerable to pollution or activities that
significantly vary the flow rates and levels.
Surface water pollution is usually readily
visible and may reduce water quality, significantly
alter flow characteristics (level and volume),
or significantly modify or destroy physical
Groundwater is also vulnerable to pollution;
however, potential impacts to groundwater
are rarely observed and tend to receive
less consideration. Groundwater pollution
is problematic because aquifer contamination
tends to persist for long periods and is
often very difficult and costly to remediate.
Groundwater pollution prevention measures
cost 10 - 20 times less than groundwater
clean-up and aquifer remediation programmes.
Similarly, although part of the continuous
hydrological cycle, the development of groundwater
and surface water resources may put these
natural resources at risk through overexploitation
and/or unsuitable design & layout of