Can you imagine a world without your favourite beer? Do you want to see the homes of entire species of fish, birds, mammals and insects protected? Don't you think that fish should be allowed to mate and reproduce...even if they're not particularly sexy?


All of these things completely rely on healthy freshwater ecosystems, such as rivers, lakes, streams, wetlands and groundwater.  But, all across the EU, these ecosystems are under attack – in fact, 60% of them are not healthy because they have been relentlessly polluted, dammed and dredged. And, of course, we are simply using far too much water.


If this continues, it will affect everyone and everything – from the production of your favourite beer, to the survival of our amazing freshwater wildlife.  


The European Commissi1on is now evaluating whether or not to change the law which protects our rivers, lakes and wetlands – and there is a real risk that it will be weakened! In fact, many EU Member States are pushing for this. This law – known as the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) – is both strong and ambitious. It protects everything from our groundwater, rivers and lakes, to streams, coastal waters and wetlands. It also aims to ensure that waters which have already been damaged are brought back to life, and by 2027 at the absolute latest. 


But, as you read this, many governments are trying to weaken the law during the European Commission’s ongoing evaluation (known as a ‘fitness check’). This would be a terrible blow for our rivers, lakes and wetlands, and everything that depends on them, making them even more vulnerable to pollution and the construction of destructive infrastructure, for example, for grey flood defence, navigation and hydropower. 


Over the course of 2018 and 2019, the #ProtectWater campaign inspired 375,386 people to call on the European Commission to defend Europe’s strong water law - the Water Framework Directive (WFD) making the EU’s public consultation on the legislation one of the largest ever in the history of the European Union. Together, we told the EU and its Member States loud and clear that this law is strong and fit for purpose. 


As Living Rivers Europe, we will be there every step of the way to ensure that the WFD remains intact, and will continue to push for it to be fully implemented by Member States and enforced by the European Commission so that the vast majority of Europe’s waters are returned to good health by 2027 (at the absolute latest).