The European Water Framework Directive (WFD) imposes member states to reach good ecological status in all surface waters by 2027. This impacts industries by pushing legislative standards and restrictions on operations. To ensure scientific robust targets and interventions, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency (DEPA) has adopted DHI’s mechanistic ecosystem modelling software as a cornerstone for the project, River Basin Management Plans 2021-2027.


The challenge of protecting marine environments
There is a delicate border between protection and exploitation of the marine environment. The WFD dictates targets that aim at protecting marine ecosystems to benefit present and future generations. However, these targets may potentially impact agriculture, industries and the household sector, since compliance with the WFD will result in costly investments. Hence, there is an integrated conflict between society and industry stakeholders when it comes to protecting the environment at a minimal cost.

The River Basin Management Plans 2021-2027 is the third initiative brought forth. Previous plans have been subject to criticism from several stakeholders without fulfilling the goals of the Directive completely.

Acknowledging the difficulties, the DEPA engaged in a model development process to ensure scientific robust data and models are at the core of future decisions.


Providing models to comply with regulations
To better manage the marine coastal waters, the DEPA decided to establish a range of mechanistic ecosystem models as background supportive data for the Danish implementation of the WFD.

Driven by MIKE Powered by DHI software, hydrodynamic (MIKE3FM), wave (MIKE21SW) and ecosystem (MIKE ECO Lab) models were developed, covering the vast majority of Danish coastal water bodies.

In total, eleven different model-complexes were developed. The model-complexes included hydrodynamics, waves and ecosystem components, spanning from regional scales, such as the North Sea and Baltic Sea models, to estuary specific models. The aim of the models was to provide robust model results at all scales – from open water to the smallest coves.


Efficient communication

Scientific robust tools for essential stakeholder communication

National coverage

More than 95% of all marine water bodies covered by one solution


Data to support Water Framework Directive implementation

‘To ensure targeted and cost-effective measures, we needed the most advanced mathematical models currently available on the market. An international scientific evaluation of the models showed that DHI’s models were state of the art. The models are well-received by stakeholders from private businesses and environmental organisations.’

Harley Bundgaard Madsen
Head of Department
Danish Environmental Protection Agency, Funen

About the client

Working together, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency and the Ministry of Environment undertake the implementation of the European Water Framework Directive at national scale and report directly to the Minister of Environment.

Software used

Hindcast modelling and planning were performed by applying MIKE 3 FM HD, MIKE 21 SW and MIKE ECO Lab.

Case story - Highlights flyer

Securing Water Framework Directive compliance in Denmark

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