Water is one of nature's most important resources and it is essential to life. Although about 70% of the earth's surface is covered by water, only 1% can be used as drinking water. Due to rising populations and economic interests our water resources are more and more under pressure and water quality and quantity protection is one of the major issues that our society has to deal with. The European Union recognized the high importance of water protection and introduced a new, European-wide and overarching piece of water legislation - the Water Framework Directive (WFD). The main aim of the WFD is to achieve "good ecological" and "good chemical" status for all European water systems by 2015. In this respect, the WFD prescribes a comprehensive system for river basin management and water quality assessment, which is based on a continuous six-year reporting cycle and which had to be transposed by the Member States into national law by the year 2003. The regulations within the Directive serve as a "framework" and therefore the detailed translation into national law was left up to the Member States. For this reason, the applied technical methods, administrative procedures and timely implementation can vary greatly between different European countries. This Master thesis describes the implementation of the provisions of the WFD in two selected Member States - Austria and Scotland. The focus of the analysis was given especially to the determination of the water quality status, the Programme of Measures (PoMs), as well as cost-effectiveness of the PoMs. For this purpose a literature study was conducted, taking into consideration national and international technical reports, legislation and scientific papers. In general it can be said that Austria and Scotland have a lot of similarities, in particular concerning water body characteristics as well as pressures and impacts on the water bodies. Both countries have developed comprehensive national instruments for the implementation of the provisions of the WFD and can serve as best practice for other Member States. Methodical differences can be found mainly in regard to the structure and focus of the PoMs, as well as to the cost-effective analysis. Austria and Scotland represent countries, which might have fewer environmental problems than other European countries, however, both countries will not be able to reach "good ecological status" for all water bodies by 2015. This implies that the envisioned objective in the WFD is too ambitious and that a "step-wise" approach to reach the goal in 2027 might be the best solution.