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The Water Environment (Water Framework Directive) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2017

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1.—(1) In the definitions in paragraph (2) (which derive from the Directive)—

(a)a reference to an Article or Annex is a reference to an Article or Annex of the Directive (unless otherwise specified);

(b)a reference to a regulation is a reference to a regulation in these Regulations.

(2) The definitions are—

“aquifer” means a subsurface layer or layers of rock or other geological strata of sufficient porosity and permeability to allow either a significant flow of groundwater or the abstraction of significant quantities of groundwater.

“body of groundwater” means a distinct volume of groundwater within an aquifer or aquifers.

“body of surface water” means a discrete and significant element of surface water such as a lake, a reservoir, a stream, river or canal, part of a stream, river or canal, a transitional water or a stretch of coastal water.

“coastal water” means surface water on the landward side of a line, every point of which is at a distance of one nautical mile on the seaward side from the nearest point of the baseline from which the breadth of territorial waters is measured, extending where appropriate up to the outer limit of transitional waters.

“direct discharge of pollutants into groundwater” means the discharge of pollutants into groundwater without percolation through the soil or subsoil.

“ecological status” is an expression of the quality of the structure and functioning of aquatic ecosystems associated with surface waters, classified in accordance with Annex V.

“good ecological potential” means the status of a heavily modified or artificial water body classified as such in accordance with the relevant provisions of Annex V.

“good ecological status” means the status of a body of surface water classified as such in accordance with the relevant provisions of Annex V.

“good groundwater status” means the status of a body of groundwater when both its chemical and quantitative status are at least good.

“good groundwater chemical status” means the chemical status of a body of groundwater which meets all the conditions set out in table 2.3.2 of Annex V;

“good surface water status” means the status of a body of water when both its ecological and chemical status are at least good.

“good surface water chemical status” means the chemical status required to meet the environmental objectives for surface water established in Article 4(1)(a) of the Directive, that is the chemical status achieved by a body of surface water in which concentrations of pollutants do not exceed the environmental quality standards established in Annex IX and under Article 16(7), and under other relevant EU legislation setting environmental quality standards at EU level.

“groundwater” means all water which is below the surface of the ground in the saturation zone and in direct contact with the ground or subsoil.

“groundwater status” is the general expression of the status of a body of groundwater, determined by the poorer of its quantitative status and its chemical status.

“hazardous substances” means substances or groups of substances that are toxic, persistent and liable to bio-accumulate, and other groups of substances which give rise to an equivalent level of concern.

“inland water” means all standing and flowing water on the surface of the land, and all groundwater on the landward side of the baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured.

“lake” means a body of standing inland surface water.

“pollutant” means any substance liable to cause pollution, including those listed in Annex VIII to the Directive.

“pollution” means the direct or indirect introduction, as a result of human activity, of substances or heat into the air, water or land which may be harmful to human health or the quality of aquatic ecosystems or terrestrial ecosystems directly depending on aquatic ecosystems, which result in damage to material property, or which impair or interfere with amenities and other legitimate uses of the environment.

“priority substance” and “priority hazardous substance” means a substance identified as such in Annex I to the EQS Directive.

“quantitative status” is an expression of the degree to which a body of groundwater is affected by direct and indirect abstractions.

“river” means a body of inland water flowing for the most part on the surface of the land but which may flow underground for part of its course.

“river basin” means the area of land from which all surface run-off flows through a sequence of streams, rivers and, possibly, lakes into the sea at a single river mouth, estuary or delta.

“surface water” means inland waters, except groundwater; transitional waters and coastal waters except in respect of chemical status for which it shall also include territorial waters.

“surface water status” means the status of a body of surface water, determined by the poorer of its ecological status and chemical status.

“transitional waters” are bodies of surface water in the vicinity of river mouths which are partly saline in character as a result of their proximity to coastal waters but which are substantially influenced by freshwater flows.

“water services” means all services which provide, for households, public institutions or any economic activity:

(a)

abstraction, impoundment, storage, treatment and distribution of surface water or groundwater;

(b)

waste-water collection and treatment facilities which subsequently discharge into surface water.

“water use” means water services together with any other activity identified under Article 5 and Annex II having a significant impact on the status of water.

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