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Integrated Water Quality Information System


Specific Objectives:
1. To investigate the current reporting mechanisms of DG ENV in the Water area. This requires close collaboration between the JRC and especially DG Environment B1, but also EEA and MS, including participation in the relevant working groups on reporting;
2. To propose a first design of the reporting system for water data to DG ENV, within the technological options currently available and those on the horizon. Anticipated milestones and schedule - 2003 First and Second Quarter: explorative contacts to the stakeholders - 2003 Third Quarter: In-depth discussion with DG Environment - 2003 Forth Quarter: Draft report to be circulated to stake holders; Study of informatics solutions based on the current reporting system.
Planned Deliverables 1.1 Report on current reporting mechanisms 2.1 Report on Design of an information system.
Summary of the Action:
The aim of this action is to investigate in depth the feasibility of a strategic project to receive, process, interpret and report on the delivery of water quality data (nutrients, contaminants, other) by the Member States as part of reporting requirements under the EU water legislation. This activity will streamline data reporting for inland and coastal waters presently performed by the Member States as required by EU Directives. The issues are complex, ranging from the timely arrival of the information to the Commission to the technical check that the data provided are sufficient for the monitoring purposes foreseen in the Directives and to the subsequent evaluation of compliance. Currently, the process is laborious and significant improvements could be made, including to help submitters in the situation where the same data must be delivered to several European bodies. The overall objective of this Action is to contribute to the initial design of an open information system that will rationalise the process of water quality data reporting by the MS. The technology basis for this may reside in agent technology, in web based application and in other recent and future informatics tools.

The tasks will start from the simple registration and digital document management, and explore options for using, for instance, XML to provide the Commission with the information already in digital form, which could then be accessed and re-used by the MS for reporting to other national and international bodies. In a second phase, the information may be packaged into digital objects which could lead to a much more efficient use of the scarce resources, increased reliability, better monitoring and higher compliance relative to the requirements of the water directives relative to the MS and CC. In particular, INFO-WATER targets the implementation and monitoring of the Water Framework Directive (WFD), with potential future application to reporting under the Nitrates Directive, the Urban Waste Water Treatment (UWWT) Directive, the European Marine Strategy, the 6th Environmental Action Program and Integrated Coastal Zone Management (A Strategy for Europe).

The work will be coordinated internally at the JRC and with DG ENV through a horizontal task force or work group currently being established, and contributions will be made to the DG ENV working groups on reporting. Rationale Currently Member States report water quality data to a number of international bodies, in compliance with EU directives, international agreements and treaties. A number of the data answering to different reporting obligations are similar, and significant savings can be made by streamlining through the use of smart information handling techniques, which would permit the secure, reliable and fast exchange of digital information initially between one MS and "all" the reporting authorities. The purpose of this action is, under the request of DG ENV, to take the first small steps in this direction for the area of water quality and to establish a strategic relationship for the future, based on the independence of the JRC relative to the MS and other international bodies, like the EEA, to hold the data in trust, and elaborate them as necessary.

Funding Scheme

JRC - Joint Research Centre research


Institute for Environment and Sustainability
Via E. Fermi 1
21020 Ispra