Generally, the quality of water in Greece is good. In terms of ecological status, coastal water systems are achieving predominantly high to good status, rivers good to moderate state, while lakes and transitional waters are predominantly in moderate and / or unknown condition, due to insufficient data and lack of observation station. In terms of chemical status, all categories of surface waters are predominantly in good condition and only a small per-centage is unknown and / or inferior to good. Finally, as regards the ground waters, their vast majority is in good condition, both in qualitative (85%) and quantitative (80%) terms. The qualitative degradation of groundwater is mainly due to nitrate pollution as a result of intensive cultivation and excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides, as well as due to the salinisation (excess of chloride ions) due to overexploitation and over-discharge of coastal groundwater and aquifers (through a plethora of illegal drillings). Furthermore, the bathing water quality is excellent.
As regards sewage treatment plants, despite the inherent difficulties because of the geomorphology of the country (mountains, many small islands) and the seasonal population fluctuation in many tourist areas, there is steady progress with an increase in the proportion of the population served. However, it should be noted that there are no sewage treatment plant in settlements where there should be according to the EU acquis. The main problem, apart from the two cases of sewage treatment plants in Thriassio Plain and East Attica for which the country has been paying fines to the EU, is the delayed implementation of the obligations arising from EU legislation, with the longest delay being observed in the Marine Strategy Directive. As very positive developments, the 1st review of the Water River Basin Management Plans should be highlighted, the preparation of flood risk management plans as well as the JMD of the costing and pricing of water services. The main challenges for the next 2-3 years is the completion of the remaining sewage treatment plants in category 3 agglomeration (smaller settlements), in Thriassio Plain (pending the connection of the inhabitants of the area with the already con-structed network) and in East Attica, to ensure the good operation of many small sewage treatment plants scattered in small municipalities in the country (problems due to seasonal variation in waste water supply, over-dimensioning and bad design), the implementation of the new JMD of the costing and pricing of water services, recording and monitoring water drilling as well as the synchronization of the six-year cycle of implementation of the various Directives with the required deadlines of the EU acquis.