B4.4.2 Groundwater Directive (2006/118/EC)


This Directive establishes a regime that sets underground water quality standards and introduces measures to prevent or limit inputs of pollutants into groundwater. It establishes quality criteria that takes account local characteristics and allows for further improvements to be made based on monitoring data and new scientific knowledge.

The Groundwater Directive complements the Water Framework Directive because it relates to assessments on chemical status of groundwater and the identification (and reversal) of significant trends in pollutant concentrations.

The requirements of the Directive include:

  • Groundwater quality standards to be established by the end of 2008.
  • Pollution trend studies to be carried out by using existing data and data which is mandatory by the Water Framework Directive (referred to as “baseline level” data obtained in 2007-2008).
  • Pollution trends to be reversed so that environmental objectives are achieved by 2015 by using the measures set out in the WFD.
  • Measures to prevent or limit inputs of pollutants into groundwater to be operational so that WFD environmental objectives can be achieved by 2015.
  • Reviews of technical provisions of the directive to be carried out in 2013 and every six years thereafter.
  • Compliance with good chemical status criteria (based on EU standards of nitrates and pesticides and on threshold values established by Member States).


3.575 million people die each year from water-related disease

43% of water-related deaths are due to diarrhoea.

84% of water-related deaths are in children aged under 14 years old.

98% of water-related deaths occur in the developing world.

1.1 billion people in the world do not have clean water. That’s about one in every six people.