Workshop Assessment of Pressures on European Water Bodies

Workshop Assessment of Pressures on European Water Bodies

Workshop “Assessment of pressures on European water bodies”

Ispra, Italy, 11-12 May 2016


The Water Framework Directive (WFD) 60/2000/EC requires the European Union Member States to ensure the non-deterioration in status of water bodies and achieve a good status by 2015; any exemption to these obligations is to be justified according to the conditions set by the Directive. As part of the planning process also required by the Directive, Member States must identify pressures, such as pollution or hydro-morphological alterations, which hamper the achievement of good status, and plan appropriate measures to address those pressures.

In the context of the assessment of the 2nd cycle of river basin management plans (RBMPs) by the European Commission, it is important to achieve a picture of the pressures on European water bodies that brings together the knowledge of individual Member States and river basin authorities, and at the same time retains sufficient homogeneity and consistency at the European scale.

The Joint Research Centre, as the European Commission’s in-house science service, has been maintaining and developing for some years a set of models and indicators that represent pressures on water bodies ranging from nutrient pollution, to hydrological regime, to chemicals and morphological alterations (the “JRC pressure indicators”). These represent trends at the European scale and have been used, inter alia, for the assessment of the Blueprint to safeguard Europe’s waters[1], and in a preliminary comparison with reported pressures in the 1st RBMPs[2].

Parallel to this effort, the Commission is working to develop a marine modelling framework. A first meeting of the associated informal NEtwork for the ReDevelopment of Models of the European Marine Environment has taken place in Brussels on 20-21 January 2016. The discharge data generated by the pressure modelling of inland waters naturally forms one of the inputs for the assessments of the environmental status in European seas.

Comparing the pressures reported by river basin districts with the JRC pressure indicators could support the analysis of consistency of pressure assessment across the EU as well as the identification of knowledge gaps, both essential when evaluating the state of European waters.

For this purpose, the JRC pressure indicators need to be checked against knowledge available at the level of individual river basin districts, in order to ensure they are realistic and reflect the relative intensity of stress on water bodies across Europe. They will provide a benchmark at EU level to which the reported characterisation of pressures by MS in the 2nd RBMPs can be compared.


The objective of this workshop is to illustrate in details the methodologies and preliminary results of JRC pressure indicators, and collect feedback from the Member states in order improve the approaches also based on additional information that may be made available. A full understanding of the JRC approaches by experts from Member States is essential for the development of a constructive exchange.

The workshop is intended for experts from member states, involved in the assessment of pressures in river basin districts. It is organized over 2 days and consists in presentations by JRC scientists on the individual models or indicators of pressures (alteration of flow regime, pollution, morphological alteration), followed by discussion.

After incorporating experts’ feedback from the workshop, the JRC will publish a first version of pressure indicators by July 2016. The results will then be available for further review by Member States before final publication.

Presentation of pressure modelling experiences in Member States

During the workshop’s thematic sessions, there will be the possibility for participants to present experiences at national level or for selected river basins, concerning model applications for the characterization of pressures. Experts interested in delivering a presentation are kindly asked to contact the organization in order to arrange the schedule accordingly.

Also, poster presentations to be displayed during coffee breaks are warmly welcome. Please contact the organization on this.

Preliminary agenda

[May 11th]

14:00 / Arrival of participants,
Coffee and registration
14:15 / Welcome and introduction / JRC, ENV
14:30 / Intended use of EU-wide models in the assessment of the 2nd RBMPs
Questions and answers / ENV
15:00 / Update on current research projects supporting WFD work: MARS, Globaqua, AMBER / JRC, project partners (tbc)
15:30 / Hydrological regime
Water demand
Crop water requirements
Presentation of JRC model-based pressure indicators + discussion / JRC
17:00 / Coffee break / On site
17:30 / Water quality: Nutrients
Diffuse emissions (EPIC model)
Catchment scale loads and concentrations (GREEN model)
Presentation of JRC model-based pressure indicators + discussion / JRC
19:00 / Workshop dinner / Hotel Europa, Ispra

[May 12th]

9:00 / Morphological alteration
Presentation of JRC indicators + discussion / JRC
10:30 / Coffee break / On site
11:00 / Chemicals
Presentation of JRC models + discussion / JRC
12:30 / The JRC water portal for the dissemination of model results / JRC
13:00 / Lunch / On site
14:00 / General discussion
- thematic gaps (e.g. groundwater abstractions, hydromorphological alterations, organic pollution, sediment balance)
- data gaps: are there data sources that can be harnessed to improve the proposed approach in the short term?
- methodological gaps: are there issues in the proposed approaches that affect their applicability/significance? Are there better alternatives? Which notes of warning should be stressed in handling the results?
- how to organize an effective comparison with pressures reported by MS?
Wrap-up and way forward / MS
16:30 / Farewell coffee - meeting closure / On site
To follow / Transfer of participants to airport/railways station

Practical information

The Venue of the workshop is the site of the Joint Research Centre in Ispra (VA), located in Northern Italy, not far from Milan. Participation is free of charge and participants are offered meals and coffee breaks during the workshop, as indicated in the agenda.

Participants are requested to register online through the following link before March 25th 2016:


The nearest airport is Milano Malpensa (MXP); alternatives are Milano Linate (LIN) and Bergamo-Orio al Serio (BGY), all with frequent connections with many European destinations. The main connections with international train lines are in Milano Centrale and Milano Porta Garibaldi stations.

The JRC organizes transport from/to airports and railway stations in order to facilitate access to the site, and transport to and from the hotels during the workshop. Participants may request transport through the abovementioned online registration form.


Participants may request to book a room at Hotel Europa, Ispra ( or Hotel La Locanda, Cadrezzate ( in the vicinity of the JRC Ispra site. Requests must be made through the abovementioned online registration form. The room rates including breakfast are 65 Euro/night for a single room and 80 Euro/night for a double room.


Registration, transport, accommodation enquiries:

Workshop program/content enquiries, proposals of presentations:

[1] see also JRC supporting studies: