EurEau

The report on the Drinking Water Directive is being debated in the European Parliament. The proposal must focus on consumer health protection.

Dr Claudia Castell-Exner is the vice-president of EurEau, the association of Europe’s drinking water and waste water service operators.

Today, the ENVI committee of the European Parliament is discussing the report on the Drinking Water Directive, put forward by rapporteur Michel Dantin (EPP). EurEau welcomes the rapporteur’s work, and supports measures to protect consumer health, while also ensuring sustainability and affordability of water services.

EurEau strongly supports the European Commission’s intention to ensure that the directive continues to protect public health while promoting citizens’ confidence in tap water across the EU.

EurEau finds that the directive has many positive aspects, but requires much needed improvements in order to make it legally sound and implementable in an efficient and effective way.

We are in favour of following the WHO recommendations more closely, compared to the Commission’s text, on quality parameters and parametric values.

In introducing the risk-based approach, the Commission proposal results in an unjustified increase of minimum frequency for sampling and monitoring, especially for chemical parameters. This causes higher costs for consumers without additional health benefits. The new Drinking Water Directive should preserve the affordability of water bills as the UN definition of the human right to water encompasses the three dimensions of access, affordability and availability.

Moreover, EurEau calls for a clearer distribution of the roles and responsibilities between Member States, water operators and property owners. The directive should reflect the fact that only Member States have the legal means to enforce preventive measures and take actions to actively protect water resources.

EurEau is also supportive of the idea of putting more focus on the domestic distribution systems, but we regret the deletion of the provisions in the current directive on materials in contact with drinking water. We want to strengthen the current article 10 by setting EU-wide hygienic requirements for materials in contact with drinking water.

EurEau is in favour of transparency and we second the European Commission’s intention to make consumers aware of the good quality of tap water in Europe to increase consumers’ confidence in water services.

We are confident that the European Parliament and the Council of the EU will find an agreement on a final text that will continue to protect consumer health, while also ensuring sustainability and affordability of water services.

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