The way that waterbodies are assessed has changed significantly as a result of the introduction of the WFD. Previously, the General Quality Assessment (GQA) scheme was used to assess river water quality in terms of chemistry, biology and nutrients. The WFD classification looks at over 30 different measures, grouped under two main headings:
- ecological status (this includes biology as well as other factors such as phosphorus and pH) and
- chemical status (‘priority substances’ e.g. mercury).
In addition to rivers the WFD also covers estuaries, coastal waters, groundwater and lakes. As a consequence NRW have had to update existing assessment techniques and develop new ones for those indicators not previously assessed.
River Basin Management Plans
Under the Water Framework Directive, Natural Resources Wales is required to produce River Basin Management Plans (RBMP) that describe the pressures facing the water environment in each of Wales’s three river basin districts6 on a series of six-year planning cycles. The second tranche of RBMPs is to be published in December 2015.
Each plan outlines the actions needed to improve the water environment. They also list the benefits that can be achieved and those best placed to deliver them. The Snowdonia National Park lies partly in the Western Wales RBD and partly in the Dee RBD.
Status of catchments in Snowdonia
The status of water bodies in Snowdonia can be viewed at: Water Watch Wales
(© SNPA 2016)
Key to Map
|Not yet assessed|
|Removed coastal water body|
Reasons for Failure for Water Bodies in Snowdonia
NRW use reasons for failure (RFF) information to identify the main factors and issues impacting on Wales’ water environment. Some failures may be caused by upstream issues (e.g. over-abstraction or regulation of flow) or downstream (e.g. obstructions such as weirs and dams can prevent fish migration). These issues occur across catchments and water bodies.
The main reasons for failure that Local Authorities should be able to address have been identified:
- Artificial barriers to fish migration
- Abandoned mines & contaminated land
- Sewage discharges
- Flood protection & land drainage
- Urban & transport development
The table below shows all of the reasons for failure that NRW have identified for water bodies in the Snowdonia National Park. In many cases water bodies fail for multiple reasons.
|Reason for Failure||Number of times RFF identified|
|Abandoned mines and contaminated land||33|
|Barriers to fish migration||10|
|Flood protection and land drainage||5|
|Surface water abstraction||3|
|Urban and Transport development||1|
In order to achieve Good status many different co-deliverers need to take action utilising, where possible, existing mechanisms and measures to deliver cost-effective sustainable improvements to the waterbody in question.
6 A ‘river basin district’ is a group of catchments that contains a collection of rivers, lakes, groundwater reserves and coastal waters.