cover image: Implementation of ecological flows in the EU :Final report


Implementation of ecological flows in the EU :Final report

27 Feb 2024

Ecological flow (e-flow) is the amount of water required for the aquatic ecosystem to continue to thrive and provide the services we rely upon. It is a key element for sustainable water use in river basins along with water balances and water allocation mechanisms. In 2015, a guidance document was developed under the Common Implementation Strategy (CIS) for the Water Framework Directive (WFD), to provide an EU definition of ecological flows and a common understanding of how they should be calculated, so that e-flows can be applied more consistently in river basin management plans. Eight years after the publication of the 2015 CIS guidance document, the integration of e-flows assessments in the RBMPs has steadily increased from the first to the third WFD planning cycle. This report reviews progress in implementing e-flows and in addressing implementation challenges. This report elaborates the main challenges faced by water management institutions in implementing e-flows in EU MS, presents country progress in developing relevant good practices and presents relevant implementation examples from MS practices.
environmental monitoring eu member state eu environmental policy adaptation to climate change report directive (eu) ecological balance application of eu law environmental standard use of water aquatic ecosystem


Directorate-General for Environment, European Commission, Ecologic Institute, Fresh Thoughts Consulting GmbH, Milieu Consulting

Catalogue number
European Commission, Directorate-General for Environment, Implementation of ecological flows in the EU – Final report , Publications Office of the European Union, 2024,
Published in
Environment policy and protection of the environment