The entire world, rather than just European states, is facing great changes that have to do with the climate crisis and the shrinking clean water resources. For this reason, the European Union and its agendas have for a number of years looked for the best legal and institutional arrangements that could slow down the processes of degradation of water-related and water-dependent environments. The aim was not only to conserve existing natural resources but also to enable public participation of member country citizens in planning and decisions about the future of water resources. Such innovative arrangements were brought together as a Water Framework Directive and they include the principle of generational justice, taking into consideration both present and future European residents.
As a consequence of this new approach to water issues, the 2000/60/EC Directive, or so called Water Framework Directive (WFD), the EU law on water, was enacted by the European Parliament and Council in 2000. The Directive is a law applicable to allof the European Union (including Poland since May 1, 2004). Not containing very detailed solutions or recommendations, it is more of a strategy document, whose significance has many dimensions, including a cultural one. This Union law indicates measures that need to be taken not only by governments and water management institutions, but also by all social, political and economic agents, if water resources are to serve present-day humans, as well as the natural world and future generations. WFD emphasises the importance of the environment and citizens’ co-responsibility for it, along with that of governmental, local-government, business and financial institutions. It enables the public to actively participate in creating water management plans for river basins and in decision-making related to waters. It mentions the important role of education as helping in knowledge building and stimulating users’ interest in water management and its human and environmental impacts. Implementation of WFD can lead to improved efficiency of water use and help protect the environment. This is crucial at the time of EU transition to a planned circular economy.