The superior objective of the Water Framework Directive is to achieve the good status of water by 2015. Surface water, including heavily modified and artificial water bodies, should achieve the good chemical status, and respectively, good ecological status and good ecological potential by 2015, where:
- ecological status is effective for natural water bodies
- ecological potential for artificial or heavily modified water bodies.
The environmental objectives for surface water and protected areas are defined in accordance with the regulations of art. 4 of the Water Framework Directive. The principle that – if to a particular water body there refers more than one objective, the is strictest one established, is used.
In Poland, at the first stage of water management planning, environmental objectives for water bodies were based mainly on the border value of particular physical and chemical, biological and hydromorphological indicators defining the ecological status of surface water and chemical indicators proving the chemical status of water, corresponding with the conditions of achieving by the water at least the good status (for water bodies recognised as natural) and the good or more than good potential (for water bodies recognised as heavily modified and artificial). The values of these indicators are defined by the Regulation of the Minister of the Environment of 20 August 2008 on the classification method of surface water bodies status (OJ of 2008 No.162, item 1008). Moreover – the Regulation of the Minister of the Environment of 22 July 2009 on the classification of the ecological status, ecological potential and chemical status of groundwater (OJ of 2009 No. 122, item 1018) and the Regulation of the Minister of the Environment of 23 July 2009 on the criteria and assessment methods of groundwater status (OJ of 2009 No. 143, item 896). In the case of water showing in the time of establishing environmental objectives the very good ecological status, it is required to maintain this status for following the principle of not deteriorating the water status.
The reason for adopting the simplified methods of establishing environmental objectives, in the first planning cycle is it accepted an approach to prepare reference conditions for particular types of water.
For protected areas in river basins, i.e. for:
- areas dedicated to points for abstraction of water in order to provide with water intended for human consumption;
- water bodies designated as recreation waters;
- areas vulnerable to biogenic substances (pollution from municipal sources);
- areas dedicated to protection of habitats or species, for which the maintenance or improvement of water status is an important factor for their conservation (including area of Natura 2000).
In the first planning cycle there were not established the high values of environmental objective. In the next planning cycle it is intended to clarify environmental objectives for the particular types of water and protected areas.