The proposed EU Water Framework Directive in particular requires Member States to prevent any further deterioration of all surface (and ground) waters and to achieve good status in all surface and ground water bodies within 15 years (except for justified specific local cases where the deadline is extended). The Directive also emphasise the use of a global ecosystem approach at the catchment level, especially in the case of transboundary rivers.
In order to comply with the new Directive, common definitions of the status of water should be established; reference surface water bodies should be found; methods should be established for monitoring of the ecological and chemical status of surface waters. Also, strategies have to be prepared against pollution, including risk assessments (most of them are already carried out under Council Regulation (EEC) No 793/93. The main objective of the proposed course is to put together such methods that can be used for assessing the chemical or ecological quality of wetland ecosystems and are in harmony with this new Directive.
Many of the methods being demonstrated are widely used in the scientific community, especially for biomonitoring purposes, but they have not been part of any legislation concerning water quality assessment. Water quality is an interdisciplinary issue, especially in wetlands, where sediment plays an important role in ecosystem functioning. Another objective is to bring together experts working in water quality assessment, creating a common platform of understanding.