16 Nov 2015

PhD thesis on EU Water Framework Directive showcases DHI’s river basin assessment tool

PhD candidate, Bjarke Stoltze Kaspersen, applied DHI’s assessment tool in his thesis research to examine the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) in two river basin case studies.

Bjarke’s thesis, entitled ‘The EU Water Framework Directive – Action Programmes and Climate Change Challenges’, was jointly funded by DHI and Roskilde University. Using DHI’s Programme of Measures (POMs) tool, this research examined the integration of climate change into the WFD.

POM tool user interface. © DHI

The European Union’s WFD – adopted in 2000 – is one of the most ambitious and wide-ranging pieces of European environmental legislation to date, with the aim of achieving ‘good ecological status’ for all water bodies. Complying with the ‘good ecological status’ objective for surface waters in Denmark requires appropriate POMs to reduce nutrient emissions from agriculture. Denmark has one of the most intensive and export-oriented agricultural sectors in the world, with farming accounting for more than 60% of the total land use and a 7500 km long coastline with shallow estuaries and coastal waters vulnerable to eutrophication. 30 years of Danish action plans for the aquatic environment have reduced nitrogen and phosphorous loads from both point and diffuse sources significantly, however further reductions are still needed to meet the WFD objectives. In addition, the next generations of river basin management plans for the WFD are required to integrate the effects of future climate change.

Bjarke’s PhD provides new insights on the potential incorporation of climate change considerations into the design and implementation of cost-effective POMs at the river basin scale. This included both the incorporation of mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as well as adaptation to climate-related risks. Using the map-based POM’s assessment tool developed by DHI, Bjarke examined the implementation of the WFD in two case studies of river basins in the eastern part of Denmark: (1) the Isefjord and Roskilde Fjord River Basin and (2) the Køge Bay River Basin.

Bjarke Stoltze Kaspersen applied DHI’s assessment tool in his PhD thesis research. © DHI


Kaspersen, B.S. (2015) The EU Water Framework Directive – Action Programmes and Climate Change Challenges, PhD Thesis DHI & Department of Environmental, Social and Spatial Change, Roskilde University, ISBN 978-87-7349-922-1

Stoltze Kaspersen, B. T.V. Jacobsen, M.B. Butts, E. Boegh, H.G. Müller; M. Stutter, A.M. Fredenslund, T. Kjaer (2016) Integrating climate change mitigation into river basin management planning for the Water Framework Directive - A Danish case. Environmental Science & Policy, Volume 55, Part 1, January 2016, Pages 141-150, ISSN 1462-9011, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2015.10.002