The WFD was introduced in 2000 to establish systems to manage the water environment, and was transposed into Scots Law in 2003.
Scotland has a reputation for having a high quality water environment. Its rivers, lochs, estuaries and seas attract visitors from all round the world. They are key to the country's welfare, providing resources for water supply and hydropower generation.
They are also very important for the economy, supporting successful industries such as salmon farming, shellfish farming, tourism and distilleries. The Scottish Government recognises the need to manage these resources sustainably for the benefit of future generations.
The WFD is a core part of water environment protection, covering all water bodies from source to sea, including Bathing and Shellfish Waters.
This approach is being delivered by a number of mechanisms: