Classification will be based on ecological state of water bodies
By 2015 all surface and ground water bodies within the European Union should have reached a good state of water quality and the degradation of the state of waters should thus be prevented (Water Framework Directive from the year 2000). In order to reach this goal, river basin management plans are to be made for all river basin districts by 2009. In the plans, significant pressures and impacts of human activity will be identified, environmental objectives will be set and measures to achieve the environmental objectives will be identified.
The quality criteria for water bodies and the classification will be reformed in accordance with the directive; this work has already started in Finland. In the future, the classification will be based more on the ecological state of water bodies. This will be done by comparing such factors as fish fauna, benthic fauna and macrophytes with conditions in which the human impact is negligible.