Environment in emerging and transition economies

Proposed System of Surface Water Quality Standards for Moldova: Technical Report


The purpose of this report is to analyse the current Moldovan system of surface water quality standards and develop a proposal for an improved system, using relevant EU Directives as a benchmark and considering Moldova’s obligations under various international agreements. This new SWQS system will comprise three principal components:

  • a use-base hierarchical (i.e., ranked in order of decreasing water quality) classification of water bodies;
  • a list of water pollution parameters to be regulated, consistent with the existing monitoring capacity; and
  • numerical values of water quality standards for each class of water quality.

Chapter 2 describes the regulatory basis and specifics of the system of SWQS currently in place in Moldova.
Chapter 3 contains an overview of systems of SWQS in the EU and Moldova’s neighbouring countries, Romania and Ukraine. With convergence with EU regulations being an important underlying driving factor, the EU Directives dealing with surface water quality and standards are described. Because Moldova’s major  rivers (the Prut, the Dniester and a small section of the Danube) are all trans-boundary, the major features of SWQSs in place in Romania and Ukraine, the classification scheme used by the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR), and guidance from the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UN ECE) are also presented.
In Chapter 4, Moldova’s existing system of water quality standards is assessed and compared with the respective EU system.
Chapter 5 contains the actual proposal for a new system of SWQSs for Moldova. Besides presenting the system as such, the chapter discusses the considerations underlying the proposal and gives a brief overview of some of the possible consequences of introducing the proposed system. The latter is an important subject for further elaboration during Phases 2 and 3 of the project.