Hungary/Romania: River basin management of the Körös/Crisuri River (#313)

The EU Water Framework Directive requires all EU member states to achieve satisfactory water quality of all waters by 2015. Although each country is individually responsible, cooperation over transnational water resources is required. In the Körös/Crisuri river basin, a project was initiated using the expertise and experience of Hungary and Romania, involving all key stakeholders. The key lesson is the importance of public participation. 


The EU Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC (WFD) was adopted in 2000. It requires all EU Member States to achieve and/or maintain a good chemical and ecological status or potential for surface waters, and a good chemical and quantitative status for ground waters by 2015. 

These provisions were accepted by the countries of the whole Danube River Basin as well. One of the milestones of the implementation of the WFD is the elaboration of the water management plan by 2009. Administratively, each country is responsible for the development of a river basin management plan for its territory.

At the same time, basin-wide coordination is necessary for international river basins. The Körös/Crisuri river basin (a sub-basin of the Tisza River) is also shared by two countries: Hungary and Romania. A joint pilot project was launched in 2005 to implement the provisions of the WFD and to help the later elaboration of the coordinated River Basin Management (RBM) Plan.

The results of the Körös/Crisuri project give a sound base for the future preparation of a harmonised Körös/Crisuri river basin management plan.

Action taken

The experiments and outputs of the Körös/Crisuri project could be used for other rivers shared by Hungary and Romania (e.g. Szamos/Somes, Maros/Mures), and by all the countries of the Tisza and the Danube basin. The forwarding of the results of the project to the regional levels is ensured by the International Commission on Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR), which is the ideal channel for information dissemination in this geographical area.

As all RBM plans should be elaborated by 2009, this pilot project can be helpful for planning. The implementation of the project developed a functioning structure of the co-operation of the two countries` experts and authorities.

Importance of the case for IWRM

The project results helped for both countries experts to harmonise their efforts during the development of the RBM plan for their transboundary waters. The project implementation gave a good opportunity to work together involving all stakeholders.

Public participation issues were also dealt in the project frame, which is as essential part of the process. The project also emphasized the necessity to coordinate measures regarding accidental pollution prevention and response activities.

Photo credit: Cornelia Florea