Pursuant to Sec. 25a-d, 36, and 36b of the Federal Water Act (Wasserhaushaltsgesetz) all water management objectives and the consequent implementation measures are to be elaborated by 31 December 2009. The characterisation that was realised in 2005 showed that many problems have yet to be resolved, and that they can only be resolved at great expense. In view of this fact, it would be desirable to allow exemptions from specific water management objectives in special cases. The criteria such exemptions must meet are set forth in Sec. 25c-d of the Federal Water Act. The present report argues that these criteria should be interpreted in such a way as to ensure that exemptions are allowed in exceptional cases only, and in a manner that is consistent with the provisions of the Water Framework Directive.