Water is life! It is a precondition for human, animal and plant life as well as an indispensable resource for the economy. Water also plays a fundamental role in the climate regulation cycle. Is critical and intimately linked with socio-economic development, so it is necessary for countries to move away from sectorial development and management of water resources and to adopt an integrated overall approach to water management.
Protection of water resources, of fresh and salt water ecosystems and of the water we drink and bathe in is therefore one of the cornerstones of environmental protection in Europe. The stakes are high, the issues transcend national boundaries, and concerted action at the level of the EU (http://water.europa.eu) is necessary to ensure effective protection.
WISE is a partnership between the European Commission (DG Environment, Joint Research Centre and Eurostat) and the European Environment Agency, known as “the Group of Four” (Go4). The main roles and responsibilities of the partners are:
• DG Environment, leads the policy and strategic aspect of WISE. It liases with Member States, especially on official reporting requirements of EU water legislation. For more information:
• The European Environment Agency hosts the Water Data Centre and the thematic WISE webpages. For more information:
• The Joint Research Centre conducts environmental monitoring and water resources modelling including nowcasting and forecasting services. For more information:
• Eurostat is collecting and disseminating water statistics, also as a part of WISE data and themes, and provides significant input in the development of the GIS part of WISE and in particular ensuring the link to INSPIRE. For more information:
In Europe a major recent development has been the entering in force of the INSPIRE Directive in May 2007, establishing an infrastructure for spatial information in Europe to support Community environmental policies, and policies or activities which may have an impact on the environment - INSPIRE Geoportal.