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Desertification Indicator System for Mediterranean Europe

1. Definition

Brief definition The indicator measures if the area has approved a River Basin Management Plan and the rapidity of its adoption.
Unit of measure Years, months.
Spatial scale  
Temporal scale  

2. Position within the logical framework DPSIR

Type of Indicator Response

3. Target and political pertinence

Objective The indicator shows if a River Basin Management plan has been adopted for the area. A RBMP is the main tool of water system management, such as envisaged by the Water Framework Directive (WFD) (CEC 2000). In the new EU water policy, the level at which goals and measures will be set is that of the decentralised, hydro-political unit of the river basin. River basin districts correspond to large catchment basins as composites of multiple catchments (CEC 2000). The establishment and operation of the river basin authorities is the cornerstone of the implementation of the WFD. Each authority will be responsible for preparing and implementing, in 6-year periods, an RBMP (CEC 2000), which will include description and mapping of the basin and the monitoring network and a summary of significant pressures and the measures taken to achieve the goals of the EU Directive.
Importance with respect to desertification

The River Basin Management Plan is a key element to effect the sustainable management of water resources and to control and prevent hydrogeological risk connected with land degradation processes. The RBMP aims to coordinate the water basin management and to introduce new standards and tools for the protection of the ecological quality of waters. RBMPs have to include:

  • an overall analysis of the river basin characteristics
  • a review of the impact of human activities on the status of waters (in terms of both quantity and quality) and ecosystems in the basin
  • an assessment of existing leglislation and shortcomings in meeting the WFD objectives, including a set of measures to address these shortcomings
  • the perceived involvement of the public in an open planning process
  • a 'combined approach' of Emission Limit Values (e.g. discharge concentrations) and water quality standards (e.g. the quality of waters receiving effluents)
  • an economic analysis of water (use) within the river basin, identifying means of cost recovery.

Each plan should be complemented with a programme of measures including a number of mandatory 'basic' measures. These include those required at a minimum to comply with the requirements of the directive. First and foremost these include the implementation of all other relevant Community legislation for the protection of water (i.e. IPPC, urban w/w, nitrates, drinking and bathing water directives).

International Conventions and agreements

Water Framework Directive (WFD) (CEC 2000).

Agenda 21, Chapter 18: Protection Of The Quality And Supply Of Freshwater Resources: Application Of Integrated Approaches To The Development, Management And Use Of Water Resources.

Secondary objectives of the indicator The River Basin Management Plan aims to harmonize water policy and water management of the river basin as a whole, in close consultation with stakeholders including industries, municipalities, basin authorities, NGOs, government institutions and the public at large. The adoption of the Plan thus reflects the local ability to follow a participatory approach in the management of environmental resources.

4. Methodological description and basic definitions

Definitions and basic concepts The indicator shows the "state of the art" of the river basin management in EU, considering the adoption of the River Basin Management Plan according to the requirements of EU Water Framework Directive.
Benchmarks Indication of the values/ranges of value The indicator compares the "state of the art" existing in different EU countries and between Basin Authorities.
Methods of measurement The difference between the time when the River Basin Management Plan was adopted in the area and the time when the first River Basin Management Plan was adopted in the EU.
Limits of the indicator Generally the Basin Authorities still have to adopt management plans. The indicators does not inform about the implementation of the River Basin Management Plan
Linkages with other indicators Aquifer over-exploitation; Groundwater depth (change in); Water consumption by sector; Water scarcity; Wastewater recycling

5. Evaluation of data needs and availability

Data required to calculate the indicator Time of adoption of the local River Basin Management Plan; time of the adoption of the first River Basin Plan adopted in EU.
Data sources Regional and Local authorities with jurisdiction on water matters.
Availability of data from national and international sources Data are easily available from regional and local sources.

6. Institutions that have participated in developing the indicator

Main institutions responsible University of Basilicata
Other contributing organizations Universities of Lisbon, Murcia, Athens

7. Additional information


Kallis, G. and Butler, D. (2001) The New EU Water Framework Directive: Measures and Implications, Water Policy, 3(3), 125-142.

Kallis, G. and Nijkamp, P. (2000) Evolution of EU Water Policy: a critical assessment and a hopeful perspective, Journal of Environmental Law and Policy, 3, 301-335.

Other references Howarth, W. (1992) New Strategies for Water Directives, European Environment Law Review, 1(4), 117-121.
Contacts Name and address Prof. Giovanni Quaranta
Dipartimento Tecnico-Economico per la Gestione del Territorio Agricolo-Forestale
Università della Basilicata
Via Macchia Romana
85100 Potenza