Source Protection of Surface Water Bodies used for Drinking Water in Europe

Drinking WaterUtilitiesWater Governance

Client: De Watergroep
EJWP1: March – June 2020

Participants: Ingrid Keupers, Rhys Hellin, Rosa Esposito and Mathilde de Jongh

Project Description

The Water Framework Directive provides a protective framework to ensure the availability of fresh water sources for present and coming generations. Amongst other measures it provides member states the possibility to identify zones that are used for the production of drinking water that require (higher) protection. Ananalysis of how this possibility has been implemented in different member states has been performed by the junior water professionals of EJWP1.


The project was a desktop research on the application of Article 7.3 of the WFD in 5 European regions: Flanders, Wales, Italy, The Netherlands and Sweden (mainly the home countries of the EJWP team participants). The results of the different regions are based on a scan of the national and local legislation and publicly available information on several aspects.


This research shows that it is difficult to find information about the elaboration of the protection zones in the Member States. It is a marked observation that these DWSZs, although defined in three of the four regions of origin, are not well known with the general public. Awareness raising on the importance of source protection could be an important factor in safeguarding the drinking water production for current and future generations as it gives more leverage to public authorities to take the necessary measures.


The results of this research will be taken up by De Watergroep internally for knowledge dissemination among staff and for formulating policies on DWSZs in cooperation with authorities.

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Gonzalo Delacámara, PhD is a Senior Researcher Fellow on water economics with IMDEA Water in Spain, and an advisor to multilateral organizations including the European Commission, OECD, World Bank and selected UN organizations. Gonzalo is working with EJWP participants through his position as leader of the Vision Leadership Team on the Value of Water with Water Europe. He is heading up the masterclass and projects on the Value of Water with Groups 1 and 2 of EJWP.

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