Freshwater ecosystems are amongst the most threatened on the planet. In Europe alone, 60 percent of EU rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands are not healthy enough to support people and nature. 

Strong legislation is in place to defend these ecosystems – the backbone of which is the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD). But progress has been slow due to poor implementation and enforcement of the law. Rather than putting all efforts into protecting and restoring freshwater ecosystems by the law’s 2027 deadline, EU Member States and the European Commission have allowed them to be further polluted and destroyed. 


The #ProtectWater campaign was launched in 2018 by WWF, the European Environmental Bureau, Wetlands International, the European Anglers Alliance and the European Rivers Network, who together form Living Rivers Europe. 


The campaign provides a platform for citizens and stakeholders to stand up for Europe's rivers and the WFD. Since 2018, the campaign has mobilised a supporter base of hundreds of thousands of European citizens, scientists and civil society groups, all of whom want to see the WFD kept intact, and fully implemented and enforced.