Preliminary Assessment of the Ecological Water Quality in Greece The environmental quality is a relatively recent term describing the surface water status, which was introduced into the Greek law in 2003. The ecological quality concept includes assessing the status of surface water on the basis of the organisms living in them compared to what would be expected in undisturbed conditions. The indicator species in this evaluation include phytoplankton, benthic diatoms, macrophytes, benthic macroinvertebrates and fish. Complementary to the above biological elements, physicochemical parameters and nutrients should be considered as well as the condition of the riverine habitats, the riparian vegetation, the water discharge and links with groundwater. The Institute of Inland Waters (IIW) of HCMR undertook, by the Ministry of Environment, the task to design the monitoring network of ecological and chemical status of rivers in Greece, in accordance with the Article 8 of 2000/60 / EC Directive. Moreover, IIW had to proceed with the preliminary assessment of the rivers ecological quality. The relevant project has been implemented from 1/4/2008 until 31/8/2009. The Greek Center for Biotopes and Wetlands as well as other research and educational institutions contributed to this task. The assessment of the ecological status occurred mainly by using existing data on benthic macroinvertebrates, according to the â€˜Greek Classification Systemâ€™ (Artemiadou & Lazaridou, 2005) and the ranking matrix for microhabitats (Chatzinikolaou et al., 2006). In the water bodies where numerous samples were available, a weighting process occurred by taking into consideration the geographical representation, the period of sampling and the updating of data from recent measurements of IIW. For the fish, the ecological assessment occurred only in basins where ichthyological indices existed (Evrotas, Alfeios, Acheloos and Aracthos rivers). In the rivers where biological data was absent, physicochemical and nutrient concentrations have been used for the assessment by weighting the relevant qualitative indices with bentic macroinvertebrate data. In those water bodies were no data were available, the pollution pressures have been identified and used to classify them only for the poor, bad and good ecological conditions. In all other cases where the assessment of river water bodies were not reliable due to the lack of data, the occurrence of seasonally intermittent streams or conflicting information in terms of pressures, have not been classified. Of the total 1,011 inland water bodies 66% of them were preliminarily classified. Of those registered a 7% has a high ecological quality, 41% is considered to be at a good status, 39% is of moderate status, 13% is classified as poor and 1% as bad (see following map).
Legend Ecological Quality Assessement of Greek Water Bodies Ecological Quality High Good Moderate Poor Bad N/A
Percentage of water bodies in different ecological classes
High Good Moderate Poor Bad