The Environment Agency is the lead authority in England for implementing the Water Framework Directive (WFD), a European directive which provides the main framework for water management in Europe.
Water for life and livelihoods: river basin management plans
Working through river basin management plans, the WFD requires that waters (including rivers, lakes, groundwaters, estuaries and coastal waters) are managed sustainably. Good status for each type of water body is defined by a set of biological, chemical and physical standards.
26% of England’s water bodies are currently classified as being of ‘good status’ or 'potential' or better.
After a major programme of investigations at thousands of sites across England, the Environment Agency has a good understanding of why waters fail to achieve good status. This evidence is being used to target action and investment to protect and improve waters.
Introduction to the Water Framework Directive
To find out more about the Environment Agency's commitment to improving the water environment, take a look at a new overview of our contribution to water management – Water for life and livelihoods.
River basin management planning
The WFD requires a management plan to be drawn up for each river basin district. The plans need to be reviewed and updated every six years. River basin management plans were first published in 2009.
The plans are currently being updated. You can help improve the quality of the revised plans by providing information, advice and committing to deliver the objectives of the WFD:
Catchment based approach
The catchment based approach focuses on improving the water environment at a local level. Catchment partnerships coordinate action by local communities to protect and enhance the water environment. Information and actions will be incorporated into river basin management plans.
Find out about the Environment Agency’s work to set up and support these partnerships, including funding available and how you can get involved:
There are external funding sources available for catchment projects. To find out more visit our external funding cources pages:
Accessing and supplying data
Evidence is important for making decisions about how to protect the water environment. We, the Environment Agency, try to make as much information publicly available as possible: