The EU-Water Framework Directive (WFD) presents a huge challenge for the Austrian water economy. The guideline engages all members from the European Union to restore the quality target of all waters to “good condition” until 2015. The evaluation of the waters’ condition primarily follows water ecology criteria, which often results in a conflict with the original use of the waters. The WFD also contains economic criteria and basic approaches. In case the restoration of the good condition has a bad influence on specific uses of the water, it is possible to apply the category of “heavily modified bodies of water”, which would set status “good ecological potential” instead of “good ecological status” as an obligatory goal. The economic assessment has an important role for the possible usage of the exemption clause (extension of time, less strict quality targets). These clauses are written in the water rights act (WRG), but require an explanation in individual cases.