Specific guidance and a timetable have been set out to make the Water Framework Directive (WFD) operational.
In 2004, a large scale inventory of the Rhine and the water bodies in its catchment as well as groundwater, the so-called survey was concluded.
In order to be able to verify for the entire Rhine watershed what the present status is and whether improvement measures are successful with respect to the most important management problems, waters must be monitored regularly. The states in the Rhine watershed have decided not only to draft the national reports on monitoring programmes required by the WFD, but to equally draft a joint summary report on the coordination of the surveillance monitoring programmes ready for application since the end of 2006.
For all European river systems, the first management plans were to be drawn up by 2009, the second management plans by 2015 and the third management plans by 2021. The directive strongly requires the public that is all inhabitants of the Rhine river basin to participate in the process.