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Pesticides Atlas overhauled in line with European Framework Directive on Water

The Dutch atlas with pesticides concentrations in surface waters have been overhauled. This new, free accessible, website is in line with the European Framework Directive on Water (In Dutch: KRW).

2008 - 2009
Wil Tamis


Dutch water boards have been monitoring pesticide levels in surface waters extensively for years. At the initiative of Leiden University’s Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML), and with major support from numerous organisations, these monitoring results have been converted to map format on a website that everyone can freely access: www.pesticidesatlas.nl

The site, developed by CML in collaboration with Royal Haskoning and funded by the Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, provides a visual record of measured pesticide levels in Dutch surface waters. More than that, it answers the questions where, when and to what extent are statutory limits being exceeded and whether or not things are improving. The Pesticides Atlas now has data covering a ten-year period. It is a sophisticated tool that is frequently used by a wide range of actors, including water boards, policy-makers, planners, schools and scientists.

The European Framework Directive on Water (KRW)

On 22 December, 2000, the text of the European Framework Directive on Water was published in the Official Journal of the European Communities, thereby bringing into force what is officially known as ‘Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 23 October, 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy’ . The Dutch name of this directive is: Kader Richtlijn Water (KRW). One of the aims of this directive is to protect and enhance natural areas that are dependent on water and ensure there is no further decline in quality. It is concerned not only with surface waters but also with riverbanks, marshes and wetlands (Article 1). In concrete terms, the Directive sets out the quality criteria that surface waters must satisfy. It also lays down monitoring obligations for Member States.

Pesticidesatlas and KRW

Under the terms of this framework directive, water boards and similar ‘competent authorities’ are obliged to now draw up management plans in line with national policies on the issue. In a parallel move, numerous changes have also been made to the Pesticides Atlas, to bring it in line with the new legislation. Among the most important are the following. The European standards have been added so monitoring results can be held up against them. The various categories of monitoring station and river basin defined in the Directive have also been appended. The data are now presented on a year-by-year basis. Data from individual monitoring stations are now presented at site level, with detailed topographical background, rather than being aggregated in kilometre-cells, as they were. Changes over time are now calculated on the basis of concentrations rather than merely limit exceedance.

This makes the new version of the Pesticides Atlas an attractive and up-to-date tool that provides not only a thorough survey of pesticide levels in Dutch surface waters but also a detailed visual picture and a wealth of information on more specific issues. One example of such an issue is the linkage between monitoring data and pesticide approval set out in the European legislation. In all respects the new Pesticides Atlas is now ‘2000/60/EC-proof’ ('KRW-proof' in Dutch).

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