ECONOMY

Water management policy

Greek water management policy is adversely affected by the splintering of responsibilities among many ministries and departments, resulting in a loss of coordination, the environmental organization World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said in a report released in Brussels yesterday. «It is very important for the EU Water Directive to be incorporated (into national legislation) for this problem to be overcome and for an effective structure toward a proper management of water resources,» said the report, which dealt with fresh water management in 20 European countries. The EU Water Directive has to come into force by the end of the year. According to the WWF, the procedures applied in Greece do not allow the active participation of non-governmental organizations in decision-making. There is also an inadequate flow of information on related issues, while access to official documents appears to be an especially time-consuming activity. The report said that the situation regarding cross-border cooperation was rather better; Greece shares five rivers and three lakes with neighboring nations and has signed bilateral agreements, although these are not fully applied. As regards the quantities of water used in agriculture, the practice of large-scale tapping of aquifers, the creation of large reservoirs and active water diversion have serious environmental effects and do not provide viable solutions. The WWF called for economic measures to stem a deterioration in the quality of both surface and well water for farming – the result of intensive and improper use of fertilizers and pesticides, although its quality is described still as «quite good.»