Improving water quality
We need to improve the quality of water in Wales’s rivers, streams, lakes, estuaries, coastal waters and groundwaters so that it meets the standards required by the EU Water Framework Directive
How we plan to meet the requirements of the Water Framework Directive
If your activity or business is likely to have an impact on the water environment, Natural Resources Wales needs to work with you.
You can find out more about activity in your area and how to get involved in improving the water environment by visiting waterwatchwales.
Working in partnership
We have produced river basin management plans that describe the pressures facing the water environment in each of Wales’s three river basin districts.
A ‘river basin district’ is a group of catchments that contains a collection of rivers, lakes, groundwater reserves and coastal waters.
The Wales Water Management Forum provides an open forum for partners to share evidence and explore opportunities for working collaboratively to improve the sustainable management of water in Wales.
Improvements and benefits
Each plan outlines the actions needed to improve the water environment. They also list the benefits that can be achieved and those best placed to deliver them. Plans are produced and updated every six years.
Wales's river basin districts
There are three river basin districts in Wales and each has its own river basin management plan:
- Western Wales District – entirely in Wales
- Dee District – cross-border with England
- Severn District - cross-border with England (led by the Environment Agency on Gov.UK)
Managing Chemicals in Water
The approach aims to focus efforts on sustainable solutions to tackle and reduce chemical pollution in a way that is both cost beneficial and will benefit people and wildlife. It is designed to help provide consistency in the next update of the River Basin Management Plans in 2020.
The Role of Local Authorities
The advice note below is jointly produced by Natural Resources Wales and the Welsh Local Government Association. Both organisations have worked together to revise the document called Local Authority Services and the Water Environment - Advice Note.
The advice note includes case studies which demonstrate how we can work together to deliver better “water” services to communities, as well as the wider environment.
Acidification risk assessment
Welsh rivers and lakes are still affected by acidification despite a major reduction in industrial emissions. To help us monitor and manage the issue, we have made an assessment of where acidification is still likely to be a problem in 2027.
That assessment concluded that there is evidence of a gradual recovery. However, a fifth of our rivers and a third of our lakes remain vulnerable.