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WG ECOSTAT Report on Common Understanding of Using Mitigation Measures for Reaching Good Ecological Potential for HMWBs (Part 3)


WG ECOSTAT Report on Common Understanding of Using Mitigation Measures for Reaching Good Ecological Potential for HMWBs (Part 3)

Impacted by drainage schemes

Hydromorphological alterations for drainage are widespread pressures on water bodies in Europe. Because of the importance of the water uses relying on drainage schemes, such as agriculture and urban areas, not all necessary restoration measures can be taken without significant adverse effect on the water use. Therefore many of the affected water bodies have been designated as heavily modified (HMWB). Still, in a substantial number of these water bodies, some mitigation measures should be taken to reach Good Ecological Potential (GEP). The report, edited by Ecologic Institute's Dr. Eleftheria Kampa and Dr. Josselin Rouillard, is available for download.

This report presents responses of European countries on a detailed questionnaire distributed in 2015 on the impacts of land drainage on the water environment and the measures that can mitigate those impacts. A key objective of the questionnaire was to compare the understanding of impacts caused by drainage to continuity, hydrological regime, morphological alterations and aquatic biology. Information was requested on

  1. national definitions of drainage and existing guidelines,
  2. water uses and regulatory regimes linked to drainage,
  3. hydromorphological alterations due to drainage and their assessment, and
  4. mitigation measures.

A list of mitigation measures and their definition is presented. In total, 20 countries responded to the questions on land drainage.


Vartia K, Beekman J, Alves M, van de Bund W, Bussettini M, Döbbelt-Grüne S, Halleraker J H, Karottki I, Kling J & Wallentin J (authors), Rouillard J, Kampa E, (eds), WG ECOSTAT report on common understanding of using mitigation measures for reaching Good Ecological Potential for Heavily Modified Water Bodies, EUR 29132 EN, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2018, ISBN 978-92-79-80305-5, doi:10.2760/444293, JRC110959.

K. Vartia
J. Beekman
M. Alves
W. van de Bund
M. Bussettini
S. Döbbelt -Grüne
J.H. Halleraker
I. Karottki
J. Kling
J. Wallentin
978-92-79-80306-2 (print), 978-92-79-80305-5 (pdf)
1018-5593 (print), 1831-9424 (online)
60 pp.
Project ID
Table of Contents

1 Introduction
1.1 Scope of the report
1.2 Key principles – Heavily Modified Water Bodies and Ecological Potential
1.3 Intercalibration of ecological status and potential
1.4 Mandate and scope of the information exchange on GEP mitigation measures
1.5 Report structure and content
2 Drainage and impacts on water bodies
2.1 What is "drainage"?
2.2 What are drainage schemes?
2.3 Key terms used in this report
2.4 HMWB designation due to drainage
3 European questionnaire on drainage and GEP
3.1 Structure of the questionnaire
3.2 Issues covered through the questionnaire
3.3 Scope of the report and results presented
4 Drivers and pressures of land drainage
4.1 Definition of drainage
4.2 Sectors and operators leading to land drainage
4.3 Pressures from drainage
4.4 Legal requirements on drainage operation and maintenance
5 Hydromorphological alterations from land drainage
6 Ability of methods to detect hydromorphological alterations
7 Relevance of drainage alterations for reaching good ecological status
8 Value of drainage alterations to the water use
9 Maintenance operation
9.1 Typical maintenance operation
9.2 Impact on ecological status due to maintenance operation
10 Designation of heavily modified water bodies due to drainage
10.1 Water category
10.2 Significant adverse effect on water use
11 Key measures to mitigate impacts from land drainage
11.1 Overview of mitigation measures
11.2 Description of key mitigation measures
11.3 Mitigation measures related to drainage: presence in national libraries
11.4 Ecological effectiveness of mitigation measures
11.5 Effects of mitigation measures on land drainage
11.6 Reasons for ruling out measures
12 Conclusions and recommendations
12.1 Harmonized understanding of GEP
12.2 Common terminology
12.3 Harmonized hydromorphological classification methods
12.4 Minimum requirements for GEP
12.5 Clarify criteria for determining significant adverse effects on water use
12.6 Reason for ruling out measures
12.7 Applying national methods to a common set of HMWBs
13 References
14 Annexes
14.1 Example 1: Groote Molenbeek, The Netherlands
14.2 Example 2: Wagenfelder Aue, Germany (Lower Saxony)
List of abbreviations
List of figures
List of tables