Water Quality

The Danube River Protection Convention asks its Contracting Parties to cooperate on water management issues and take all appropriate legal, administrative and technical measures, to at least maintain and improve the water quality conditions of the Danube River. The decision taken by all ICPDR Contracting Parties to jointly implement the EU WFD in the Danube River Basin means in practical terms that the environmental objectives of WFD have been applied in the whole Danube catchment to ensure that good status of surface water and groundwater is achieved throughout the whole Danube River Basin and that deterioration in the status of waters is prevented. The overall results of the status assessment are published on a regular basis in the frame of the Danube River Basin Management Plans.

Ecological status / ecological potential

Ecological status is based on the assessment of the biological status of all WFD biological quality elements (fish, benthic invertebrates, phytoplankton, phytobenthos and macrophytes) and of the supportive physico-chemical parameters (general and specific pollutants) as well as hydromorphological parameters (hydrological regime, river continuity and morphological conditions), following the principles stipulated in the WFD Annex V.

Ecological potential includes the same biological and physico-chemical parameters and reflects given hydromorphological changes. It is assessed for heavily modified as well as artificial water bodies and aims for specific environmental objectives than ecological status.

Ecological status for surface water bodies is assessed based on specific typologies and reference conditions, ecological potential being based on reference approach and mitigation measures approach which have been defined by EU MS according to WFD Annex V.

Chemical status

Chemical status has to meet the requirements of environmental objectives for surface waters outlined in WFD Article 4(1). To meet the good chemical status, the environmental quality standards established in line with the WFD Article 16(7) by EU Directive 2008/105/EC on environmental quality standards in the field of water policy, amended by Directive 2013/39/EU, must not be exceeded.


  • » Joint Danube Survey
    The key purpose of Joint Danube Surveys (JDS) is to produce reliable and comparable information on carefully selected elements of water quality for the length of the Danube River, including its major tributaries. Three Joint Danube Surveys have previously been conducted, in 2001, 2007, and 2013. The fourth of its kind, JDS4 was launhed in June 2019 at sampling sites in 13 countries across the Danube River Basin.
  • » Tisza Investigation
    The investigation of the Tisza River was a follow-up project of the Joint Danube Survey 2001 organised by the ICPDR. The objective of the survey was to investigate the water quality along the river and to promote public awareness. The countries participating at the survey include Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, and Serbia and Montenegro.
  • » TNMN Yearbooks
    Through the TransNational Monitoring Network (TNMN), the contracting parties of the ICPDR monitor water quality pollution and long-term trends in water quality and pollution loads in the major rivers in the Danube River Basin. The collected data is published annually in the “TNMN Yearbooks”, which you can download here.
  • » Searching for heavy metals behind the Iron Gates
    ICPDR Danube Watch: Searching for heavy metals behind the Iron Gates


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