Water quality monitoring programs provide the fundamental data to evaluate the ADWIs. Therefore, the robustness and representativeness of state/impact indicators strongly depend on the water quality monitoring data.

Table 6.1: Overview of the monitoring programs in the Nitrates Directive in EU Member States participating in FAIRWAY (modification of Table 6 of Fraters et al. 2009)

Country Groundwater Surface Water
  Starting year Monitoring point Sampling frequency Starting year Monitoring point Sampling frequency
Denmark 1988(G1)
1989 (D2)
2000 wells (G); 6400 wells (D) 1 time per year – 1 time per 6 year (G); 1 time per 3-5 year (D) 1989 231 sites (F3); 89 sites (L4); 96 sites (MC5) 12-26 times per year (F); 1-20 times times per year (L); 3-26 times per year (MC)
France 1992 2625 sites 1 time per 4 years 1992 1719 sites 1 time per 4 years
Germany6 1992 172 sites At least 1 time per year 1984 152 sites (F); 10 sites (MC)  
  2016 700 sites with data available since 2008     256 sites (F) 68 sites (L) 14 (MC) average: 4 times in winter
The Netherland 1984 360 sites (G); 220 sites (D) 1 time per year - 1 time per 4 year(G); 4 time per year (D)   30 sites (F); 39 sites (MC) 12-24 time per year
UK-England 1990 3700 sites 4 time per year   7000 sites 12 time per year
UK-Northern Ireland 2000 85 sites 4 time per year 1970s 683 sites 12 time per year

1Groundwater monitoring wells; 2Drinking water supply wells; 3Freshwater; 4Lakes; 5Marine and Coastal water; 6Osterburg and Wolter (2017); BMUB, BMEL (2017)

All the Member States of EU operate water quality monitoring programs to fulfil the national regulations and EU-level obligations. At the EU-level, there are four directives that define the monitoring and reporting requirements regarding drinking water quality and the impact of agriculture on it: Nitrate Directive (91/676/EEC), Water Framework Directive (WFD, 2000/60/EC), Groundwater Directive (2006/118/EC), and Drinking Water Directive (98/83/EC). These directives provide the overall guidelines of monitoring protocols such as minimum sampling frequencies, monitoring parameters. All monitoring networks deliver data to European Environmental Agency (EEA), where the data are available on their website both as maps and in aggregated forms of numerous reports.

Each Member State uses its own monitoring program to comply with these directives (Table 6.1). Therefore, the monitoring programs of the EU Member States have very different structures and designs, depending on various factors such as their history, financial situations, national monitoring obligations and other societal needs. A comprehensive overview of different national monitoring strategies in connection with the Nitrates Directive can be found in Fraters et al. (2009). Table 6.1 shows a summary of the monitoring programs of the Member States participating in FAIRWAY.

In France, in the monitoring network, the frequency of analysis varies, depending on the parameters. For instance, in the Loire-Bretagne bassin, 52 parameters are analysed on a regular basis (2 times/year), 171 parameters are analysed only during “Photographic” analysis (1 time/cycle) and 63 parameters on a selection of points are analysed on intermediate analysis (once in the middle of the cycle). For a certain drinking water plant, the number of parameters could reach almost 700 parameters since there is no limit of pesticide that can be analysed.

In Germany, the monitoring framework for ground- and surface water had been adjusted in 2016 (Osterburg and Wolter (2017); BMUB, BMEL (2017).

In WP 3, we will compile all types of monitoring data for each case study site. The data availability and quality are expected to vary greatly; therefore, they may become one of the most important criteria in the prioritisation process.


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