In order to test and cross validate these GDs, a network of Pilot River Basins (PRBs) has been established. It was foreseen that such a network would contribute to the implementation of the WFD directive, leading in the long-term to the development of River Basin Management Plans. Several countries have proposed river basins and associated coastal zones within their territory taking into account the following objectives:
- Cover the maximum number of Ecoregions
- Commitment and resources for testing the GDs in this voluntary exercise
- Participation of local, regional and national competent authorities, i.e. water management administrations
- Active involvement of NGOs and stakeholders.
- Dealing with the maximum number of pressures and environmental problems
- Include transboundary river basins with all the involved partners
- Representative of the data availability in MS.
Initial Pilot River testing of the GDs started in 2003 and should be finished by the end of 2004. Similarly to the rest of the WFD-CIS process the Pilot River Basin testing is a common exercise of the Commission and Member States, the Institute for Environment and Sustainability of the Joint Research Centre (IES-JRC) acts as the technical secretariat, and constitutes a part of the Working Group 2B for Integrated River Basin Management co-lead by France and Spain. The geographical location of the fifteen Pilot River Basins: Cecina (Italy), Guadiana - Portuguese part- (Portugal), Jucar (Spain), Marne (France), Mosel-Saar (Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg), Neisse (Czech Republic, Germany and Poland), Odense (Denmark), Oulujoki (Finland), Pinios (Greece), Ribble (UK, England), Somes/Szamos (Hungary, Romania), Scheldt (Belgium, France, The Netherlands), Shannon (Ireland), Suldalsvassdraget (Norway) and Tevere (Italy), is shown in Figure 1.