The European Union Water Framework Directive (WFD) (European Commission, 2000) is an attempt to provide a coherent and comprehensive framework for water management. It came into force in December 2000 and is the most substantial piece of European Commission (EC) water legislation ever produced (Woods, 2004). The demands of achieving ‘good water status’ for all water bodies by 2015 will necessitate a reformulation of the boundaries through which sustainable water management takes place. In particular, the governance of sustainable water management, under the WFD, is to be focused on spatial boundaries defined by hydrological zones; namely, designated river basins and river catchments. The aspiration of the WFD is that through a focus on hydrological boundaries, the development of integrated river basin management (IRBM) as a holistic approach to sustainable water management will be more feasible.