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, 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
• Represent data availability in MS.
Initial Pilot River testing of the GDs started in 2003 and was finished by the end of 2004. Similarly to the rest of the WFD-CIS process the PRB 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 Pilot River Basin network has been joined by 15 river basins all across Europe: Cecina (Italy), Guadiana - Portuguese part (Portugal), Jucar (Spain), Marne (France), Mosel-Saar (Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg), Neisse (Czech
Republic, Germany, Poland), Odense (Denmark), Oulujoki (Finland), Pinios (Greece), Ribble (UK), Somes/Szamos (Hungary, Romania), Scheldt (Belgium, France, The Netherlands), Shannon (Ireland), Suldalsvassdraget (Norway) and Tevere (Italy). The geographical location of the Pilot River Basins is presented in Figure 1.