Science & Research

Determination of Intercalibration Network

Intercalibration tests between Member States should be performed in the years 2005 – 2006 in order to ensure comparable results of the biological monitoring. A priority is creation of an intercalibration network by the end of 2004. A draft intercalibratio

n network register, published by the Commission, should be approved in accordance with the procedures set out in Article 21 of the Water Framework Directive.

The Water Framework Directive (Annex V) deals with classification and presentation of the ecological status and comparable results of ecological monitoring. Annex V, section 1.4.1 provides exclusively for the results of biological monitoring and refers to the fact that the intercalibration test includes only the quality of biological components, and not the overall ecological status. The monitoring system should achieve the „values“ of biological quality indicators specified for each type (water flora, bentos, fish). For artificial and heavily modified water bodies, the monitoring should use the biological quality indicators from the most appropriate category. The monitoring systems should be able to detect anthropogenous effects of various origin (e.g. saprobe index significantly sensitive to eutrophisation load, should sensitively react also to contamination by heavy metals). The results of monitoring of the biological quality indicators are expressed as EQRs – ratios between the monitored values and the reference values. These ratios represent the relation between the values of biological parameters monitored in the given surface water body and the values of such parameters in reference conditions (appropriate for the body in question). The ratio is expressed as a numeric value between 0 and 1.

Each Member State should divide the scale of ecological quality ratios for its monitoring system into five classes for each type of surface water, from the very good to very bad ecological status, by allocating marginal values for each class.

The Commission´s task is to simplify the process of intercalibration tests by that it shall ensure determination of limits in a class, in accordance with the defined standards and their mutual comparability between Member States. The first step in this exchange of information should be selection of suitable types of information (including biological and other data) required for designation (identification) of the intercalibration networks. The network should consist of sites selected from the range of various types of surface water bodies present in certain ecoregion. The intercalibration network sites are representative for all water bodies, because the water body is an independent unit for classification of the ecological status.

Thus, the aim of the intercalibration tests is to ensure comparable evaluating systems of ecological quality and to harmonize the criteria of ecological quality of surface waters in Member States. This will enable common approach to defining one of the main environmental objectives of the Directive, i.e. the „good ecological status“, by creating:

  • agreed criteria of ecological quality for the good quality status, by designation of the object of protection and renovation,
  • agreed numeric values for the EQR for two quality classes (very good - good and good - average).

The Directive provides for the following time schedule of intercalibration:

  • creation of the proposed intercalibration network register – December 2003,
  • creation of the final version of the intercalibration network register – December 2004,
  • publishing the results of intercalibration tests by the Commission – December 2006.

Selection of the intercalibration network sites in Member States requires sufficient necessary and reliable information on relevant pressures and impacts. In addition, reference conditions for various types of intercalibration must be precisely specified.

In the Danube region, several activities were performed under leadership of the international commission for protection of river Danube, the aim of which was to harmonize the intercalibration. For the Danube river basin, an „Eastern Continental region” was created. Types were proposed for this geographic intercalibration region.

Based on the available information on typology of Slovakia (in co-operation with the working group for reference conditions and typology), according to the information on biological quality, according to the chemical data and available information on pressures, 12 preliminary intercalibration sites were selected. However, it should be notified that gradually with obtaining new information, these sites will be supplemented or deleted from the register. During April to May 2004, the register will be open for supplements or changes in the data. Until September, it will be possible to delete some sites from the register. However, no supplements will be allowed.

Information and Contact:

RNDr. Jarmila Makovinska, Ph.D.

Research Institute of Water Management
Nabr. arm. gen. L. Svobodu 5, 812 49, Bratislava
Tel: 0259343473, Fax: 0254411941

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