The European Council yesterday adopted its position on updating the EU’s Drinking Water Directive, revising quality standards and introducing risk assessment measures.
The revisions, introduced in response to the “Right2Water” citizens’ initiative campaigning for the continued right of EU citizens to access clean, safe drinking water, introduce updates to the EU’s water quality standards, which were put in place in 1998. Also included in the update are the implementation of a “risk-based” approach to water quality monitoring, which is expected to reduce the costs of monitoring drinking water quality in the long term; and new obligations on Member States to provide citizens with better access to water and associated information.
Ioan Deneș, Minister of Waters and Forests of Romania, said: “I know that safe drinking water is an issue that is important for all of us, as the European citizens’ initiative ‘Right2Water’ has shown. This is why I am very pleased that today we reached an agreement on the Council’s position on the drinking water directive. The message is clear: wherever you are in Europe, you can drink the water without worrying about your health.”
EurEau, the European federation of national water services, has expressed its support for the revised Drinking Water Directive, commending the Council’s “level of ambition”. Along with the EU’s water producers, the European water sector has advocated for stricter hygiene standards since the European Commission announced it would re-examine the directive.
EurEau Vice President Claudia Castell-Exner said: “The current directive provides a strong framework for protecting human health, which is paramount to us. With today’s agreement on the future framing of the Drinking Water Directive, people can rest assured that when they open their tap for a glass of water for them or their family, the water they consume is safe, clean and wholesome. This Council compromise builds on the original directive to guarantee consumer protection for years to come.”