Environmental Supporting Conditions for Groundwater Dependent Terrestrial Ecosystems (GWDTEs)
EPA Funded Project: STRIVE 2007-2013
The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) promotes the combined management of surface waters and groundwaters and requires the protection of groundwater for its environmental value in addition to its protection as an important resource. This progressive piece of EU legislation requires Member States to ensure that each groundwater body (GWB) maintains good groundwater quantity and quality. To achieve this, the status of each GWB identified as being at risk from anthropogenic pressures such as abstraction and eutrophication, must be classified as having either 'good' or 'poor' status. Assessments of significant damage to Groundwater Dependent Terrestrial Ecosystems (GWDTEs) are an essential component of these status tests. GWDTEs are habitats that occur where the water table is at or near the surface of the ground and they directly depend on groundwater for a significant proportion of their water supply. Work to date has identified major information deficiencies in relation to assessing significant damage to GWDTEs and consequently the status tests have only been applied to a few sites. The project was commissioned by the Environmental Protection Agency of Ireland to inform the development of appropriate status tests relevant to GWDTEs and to highlight knowledge gaps.