Observatorio de I+D+i UPM

Memorias de investigación
The Water Framework Directive and the need to coordinate water plans across jurisdictions
Áreas de investigación
  • Política agraria
Rivers are routes for the transmission of environmental values and functions. Their heightened slopes and evolution towards areas of plains and where they flow out are living dynamic systems that link cultures, ways of life and economies. Half of mankind lives close to rivers which are born in mountainous areas and provide a high proportion of their resources (Messerli et al. 2008). The majority of the world’s population takes water from and lives within international basins (Dinar et al. 2007). Global change is substantially altering the water regime of the Earth’s river systems, particularly that which is happening in mountain areas. Hoff (2008) estimates that the volume of the Ganges will grow by some 30-40% in the next two decades due to the disappearance of the Himalayan glaciers and that it will fall by 50% from 2030. There will be similar changes in the Rhône, with a significant increase in the risks of flooding in low and medium lands (Bravard, 2008; Pahl-Wostl et al. 2008). Estimations show a similar direction for the Iberian basins: smaller runoff and greater variability (MMA, 2007). All these changes, with their origins in the changes in the atmosphere, can be added to the increase in pressure with an anthropic origin. We depend on the rivers to feed ourselves and to have water for our homes and industries; additionally, we feed our spirit through their beauty, their flora and fauna, and for the history that they hoard to which we have born witness over millennia. Since the Dublin Declaration in 1992 on water and sustainable development, water policy in any administrative orbit has been formulated on very similar bases. No government can ignore the magnitude of the challenges and the need to face them with determination. However, the environmental deterioration affecting many basins around the world is the fruit of human and natural processes which are difficult to reverse. In part, these difficulties are the result of jurisdictional or administrative fragmentation of the basins. Although the concept of sovereignty of each State was made more precise through the 1997 Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourse of the United Nations, undoubtedly both sustainable planning and river management for cross-border rivers must overcome greater difficulties. In the States that are federally constructed and have arid or semi-arid climates – such as Australia and the USA – each State has broad competence and sovereignty over the rivers which cross them. However, it is their federal governments which pass environmental laws that must be fulfilled and affect the quality of the environment, such as with the Clean Water Act of 1977 in America. With good logic, the European Union (EU) follows a similar principle, which it has laid out clearly in the Water Framework Directive. From its article 13.2: “In the case of an international river basin district falling entirely within the Community, Member States shall ensure coordination with the aim of producing a single international river basin management plan. Where such an international river basin management plan is not produced, Member States shall produce river basin management plans covering at least those parts of the international river basin district falling within their territory to achieve the objectives of this Directive.”.
Entidad relacionada
Expo Zaragoza 2008 - Forum of Federations – Fundación Giménez Abad – Cortes de Aragón
Nacionalidad Entidad
Lugar del congreso
Expo Zaragoza 2008
Esta actividad pertenece a memorias de investigación
  • Autor: Alberto Garrido Colmenero (UPM)
Grupos de investigación, Departamentos, Centros e Institutos de I+D+i relacionados
  • Creador: Centro o Instituto I+D+i: Centro de Estudios e Investigación para la Gestión de Riesgos Agrarios Medioambientales (CEIGRAM)
  • Departamento: Economía y Ciencias Sociales Agrarias
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