Fortum’s response to the Public Consultation on the Fitness Check of the EU Water Framework Directive

In Fortum’s view, the Water Framework Directive (WFD) itself has proved well-defined and reasonably well fit for its purpose. The challenges are related to the implementation acts and guidance documents that are complex and contain several general standards unsuitable for hydropower. Therefore, it is important to streamline and simplify the guidance and to remove general provisions, in order to avoid ambiguity and counterproductive effects.

Water flowing in the river

There is an obvious need for better policy coherence between the WFD and other EU climate and energy policy goals and legislation in the implementation of the directive. Effective application of holistic socio-economic and ecological assessments of hydropower should be enforced in the WFD implementation to ensure sustainable water use, without undermining the achievement of climate and energy policy targets.

Fortum considers essential to fully utilise the possibilities given in WFD to safeguard hydropower generation, storage and flexibility. It is important to keep heavily modified water bodies (HMWB) designation as a key classification category also in the future and to align the national implementation of HMWB better with definitions of WFD. In addition, the hydro morphological quality elements need to be maintained as supporting criteria since they serve as points of reference for the classification of water bodies.

Case-by-case best practices and cost-efficient environmental measures instead of standard solutions should be implemented at hydro power plants to prevent ecologically unsatisfactory solutions, undue losses in electricity production and unnecessary costs.

Read more:
Fortum's view on the EU Water Framework Directive (pdf)
Fortum's response to the Public Consultation on the EU Water Framework Directive (pdf)

Kari Kankaanpää
Senior manager, climate affairs
Tel: +358 50 453 2330
[email protected]