The incorporation into Spanish law of Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and Council, dated 23 October 2000, establishing a Community framework in the field of water policy, the Water Framework Directive (WFD), which adds, to the traditional approach of meeting demand, a new approach that aims to achieve the best ecological level in all water masses.

AMBISAT has been involved, from the start, in preparing projects, prior to the implementation of the WFD, affecting several Spanish river basins and in developing new water management plans; fully aware that water planning projects should reconcile a number of requirements based on sound management practices that lead to sustainable development. In addition, water management planning should help to mitigate the effects of floods and droughts, aspects that are integrated at AMBISAT with a view to providing comprehensive planning solutions.

On the other hand, the WFD promotes the active participation of stakeholders in implementing the said directive and, in particular, in planning processes. Consequently, AMBISAT has specialised in promoting dialogue and mediation as a strategy to develop water management plans by conducting preliminary surveys of stakeholders to identify and characterize the actors involved in the process, recognizing the legitimacy of all positions, providing common grounds for all stakeholders related to water management, highlighting common interests and creating appropriate channels for dealing with conflicts; presenting the conclusions reached at the relevant forums, involving all regional and state institutions in developing the water management plan and studying complementary policies between public authorities and civil society based on maximum information and respect for all positions.

For the correct development of a planning process, AMBISAT has a multidisciplinary team of experts who perform the following tasks:
  • Delineation of water masses, types and conditions of reference
  • Analysis of anthropogenic pressure and impact
  • Studies to establish environmental flows and their implications on demands
  • Identification of river nature reserves
  • Inventories of natural resources and assessment of the impact of climate change on future scenarios
  • Inventories of uses and demands and future projections
  • Definition of management systems and subsystems and the preparation of balance studies between resources and demands
  • Identification of protected areas and specific requirements
  • Design and adjustment of control networks and programmes
  • Definition of environmental objectives and proposed exemptions due to technical infeasibility or disproportionate costs
  • Economic analysis and characterization of water uses
  • Study of service cost recovery levels, assessment of environmental costs and resource costs
  • Preparation of a programme of measures with economic plan and time line
  • Coordination of the competent authorities
  • Development of public information processes
  • Public consultation processes and attention and response to allegations