Probabilistic Evaluation of Ecological and Economic Objectives of River Basin Management Reveals a Potential Flaw in the Goal Setting of the EU Water Framework Directive
The biological status of European lakes has not improved as expected despite up-to-date legislation and ecological standards. As a result, the realism of objectives and the attainment of related ecological standards are under doubt. This paper gets to the bottom of a river basin management plan of a eutrophic lake in Finland and presents the ecological and economic impacts of environmental and societal drivers and planned management measures. For these purposes, we performed a Monte Carlo simulation of a diffuse nutrient load, lake water quality and cost-benefit models. Simulations were integrated into a Bayesian influence diagram that revealed the basic uncertainties. It turned out that the attainment of good ecological status as qualified in the Water Framework Directive of the European Union is unlikely within given socio–economic constraints. Therefore, management objectives and ecological and economic standards need to be reassessed and reset to provide a realistic goal setting for management. More effort should be put into the evaluation of the total monetary benefits and on the monitoring of lake phosphorus balances to reduce the uncertainties, and the resulting margin of safety and costs and risks of planned management measures.
KeywordsWater framework directive Bayes network Modelling Uncertainty Monte Carlo simulation
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