Protectwater campaign : for ambitious and strong EU water legislation

21 July 2020: 1000th day of the revision process of the Directive!
It is time for the European Commission to conclude this debate!

With 60% of the European Union’s rivers, lakes and wetlands in a not good state, we cannot afford to waste any more time. Strong legislation is in place to defend these ecosystems, the backbone of which is the Water Framework Directive (WFD) of 2000. But progress has been slow due to poor implementation and enforcement.

The WFD in its current form is the right tool to protect water

Since the end of 2018, citizens have massively participated in the European Commission’s public consultation via the “ProtectWater” campaign. 375,000 citizens across Europe have asked that the WFD be maintained and remain unchanged. Since then, +5,500 scientists, 130 civil society organisations, 9 Member States including France and 23 major companies have expressed their support. They all recognize that the Water Framework Directive gives an ambitious and environmentally protective framework which it is not advisable to change and that its operational implementation must be reinforced. Even the conclusions of the “quality assessment” which lasted 2 years, carried out by the Commission, underline that the Water Framework Directive is “adapted to its objectives”. more information

So why has the European Commission still not declared that it will not change this law?

By refusing to give the final green light to the WFD, the Commission is unnecessarily slowing down the implementation of the law and creating an uncertain legal environment. Our rivers, lakes, wetlands and the wildlife they support cannot hold out any longer – they need better enforcement NOW.


July 21 will mark the 1,000th day since the launch of the independent review of our water legislation.

From now until the beginning of July, European citizens, through the “Protectwater” campaign, are called upon to mobilise once again with the Commission to stop an endless debate on possible changes that could weaken this unique law. Write personally, via a form to the European Commission to express to it in your own words this incomprehension and the urgent need to take a decision to protect our rivers in Europe. The form allows you to send a message from your own mailbox directly to Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, and Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President.

We have already shown that citizens can mobilise in numbers (375,386 to be precise! with the public consultation). Now write personal and authentic messages, whether it is a story about your river, or why you took part in the public consultation, etc.

Write to the European Commission, click here

-> redirection to the European site of the “Protectwater” campaign and the form for sending the message

Some inspiration for your message in the videos below.

The rivers thank you for your support!

The sources of Europe’s water are protected under EU law into the Water Framework Directive (WFD), adopted in 2000. It sets the objective of the good ecological and chemical status of European waters at the latest in 2027.

Eighteen years after the introduction of the directive, about 50% of the waters in Europe are in good state. This year, the European Commission will review the Directive and, among other things, examine whether the objectives can be achieved with the provisions contained therein.

However, by opening up the directive there is a risk that the objectives of the DCE will be weakened. For example, industrials have planned to put pressure to ask for derogations or less stringent standards.

For the environmental NGO the protection of the Water Framework Directive is fit for purpose, it is the policies of governments that are not up to the challenge. The WFD must be maintained and its implementation conducted in a more ambitious way (read our argument).

To protect our rivers and lakes, and all the species that depend on them, we must protect the Water Framework Directive!

The campaign is led by Living Rivers Europe (WWF EPO, European Rivers Network (ERN), European Anglers Alliance (EAA), European Environmental Bureau (EEB), Wetlands International European Association (WI-EA) representing a movement of over 40 million European citizens.

The campaign provides a platform for citizens and stakeholders to defend Europe’s rivers and the WFD. Since 2018, the Campaign has mobilised a support base of hundreds of thousands of European citizens, scientists and civil society groups, all of whom want the WFD to remain intact and to be fully implemented and enforced.

The objective of #ProtectWater is to defend the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) and through this tool protect Europe’s rivers, lakes, aquifers and wetlands, as well as the fauna and flora for future générations.

The campaign is led by Living Rivers Europe (WWF EPO, European Rivers Network (ERN), European Anglers Alliance (EAA), European Environmental Bureau (EEB), Wetlands International European Association (WI-EA)