A comparison between EU and Brazilian water policies: the use of macroinvertebrates


  • Abel Silva Vieira Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil
  • Guilherme Araujo Gomes Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil
  • Rene Lebarbenchon Macedo Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil




Water Policy, PNRH, WFD, Macroinvertebrates.


Water management has traditionally looked at the physical-chemical measurements which are
not enough to protect the ecosystems in a more detailed watershed management. The
European Union (EU) and Brazil have been attempting to improve their water status by the
implementation of the Water Frame Directive (WFD) and the Brazil's National Water
Resources Plan (PNRH) respectively. Despite of many similarities between the policies, they
mainly differ in the use of bioindicators. Macroinvertebrates are the most common biological
indicator used to show disturbances in the water bodies. The aim of this paper is to explain
how macroinvertebrates have been adopted to classify the ecological status of the water
bodies by the Brazilian and EU water policies. In the WFD it was defined the AQEM
biomonitoring program, which uses macroinvertebrates index. On the other hand, the PNRH
does not require biomonitoring. The use of bioindicators is the main difference between both
water management policies. It reflects the concept of the water as a resource in Brazil and as
an ecosystem in the EU.


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