The Water Framework Directive (WFD) requires the preparation, implementation and review of River Basin Management Plans (RBMP) on a six-year cycle. River Basin Districts (RBD) and the WFD Waterbodies that they comprise are important spatial management units, regularly used in catchment management studies.
River Basin Districts are the main areas for co-ordinating management of the water environment. They comprise river basins and their associated coastal waters. There are 2 River Basin Districts in Scotland, one of which (Solway-Tweed) crosses the border with England, comprising 10 sub-RBDs.
River basins are made up of lakes, rivers, groundwaters, estuaries and coastal waters, together with the land they drain. The waters of England and Wales have been divided into water bodies. These are lakes and parts of rivers, estuaries, coastal waters and groundwater. They include artificial water bodies, such as canals, and heavily modified water bodies, such as deepened and straightened rivers. Environmental objectives are set for each water body.
SEPA provides visualisation tools for WFD water bodies, including downloadable information on the classification status for each water body, but does not provide a public download service for the water body spatial datasets. There was previously an issue with making WFD water body datasets available due to underlying data IPR, but this was resolved in 2016.