Lengthy negotiations ahead for Directive on water resources

Ambitious plans for an EC framework Directive on water resources have been published by the European Commission. The keystone is a duty on Member States to prepare plans for each river basin to ensure that most surface waters and groundwaters are of "good" status by 2010. Management of water quantity would be covered by EC legislation for the first time, and a controversial provision of the proposal would require levying of full cost-recovery charges on water users by 2010. The Commission has also attempted to respond to the European Parliament's concerns that the Directive will weaken existing controls on dangerous substances, but is unlikely to have succeeded.

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