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European Union (EU) member states are required under the Water Framework Directive (WFD) to adopt a comprehensive integrated basin-based water management approach with the ultimate objective of attaining or maintaining “good” water quantity, quality and ecology status. More specifically, the WFD requires implementation of an integrated monitoring and management system for all waters within the river basin district, a dynamic program of management measures, and a river basin management strategy which can be continually updated. The goals of the river basin strategy are to prevent further deterioration of, and protect/enhance water quality and quantity of aquatic ecosystems and groundwater; promote sustainable water use based upon long-term protection of available water resources; provide enhanced protection of the aquatic environment through specific measures aimed at eliminating and/or mitigating the impacts of pollutants; and assist in compliance with EU directives and national legislation.

The Dublin City Council, the lead authority for the Eastern River Basin District (ERBD) in Ireland, has developed a river basin management system that integrates the organizational, process, and technology components needed to meet the WFD requirements using the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System (EMS) framework. The WFD requirements and the ISO 14001 EMS elements are closely aligned allowing for the use of the ISO 14001 framework, the plan-do-check-act principles, and relevant EMS elements in constructing the river basin management system (RBMS). The RBMS allows for build out of the comprehensive management system in three critical areas: (1) technology tools, (2) processes, and (3) organization.

The web-based RBMS technology tools provides a systematic process for establishing criteria for use in assessing whether water bodies are at risk or meeting good status by 2015 and also provides for building documentation needed to support the ongoing efforts necessary to comply with future regulatory requirements. The RBMS provides a web-based manner for assembly and compilation of guidelines and procedures key to long term river basin management. The organizational components of the RBMS continue to be developed as roles and responsibilities are defined and evolve to best achieve the requirements of the water framework directive.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-01-01

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