EurEau newsletter - Edition 42 - December 2019
The EurEau Secretariat sends all our members and colleagues our best wishes for the end of the year. Thank you for the great cooperation over 2019, and we are looking forward to more good work in 2020!
2019 – a year in review
It was a busy year… here’s a reminder of what happened in EurEau and in EU water policy!
Deterioration defined in the WFD
On 12 November the European Court of Justice published an opinion of GA Hogan in a case from Germany (request for a preliminary ruling) i.a. on the meaning of the term deterioration as laid down in Art 4 of the Water Framework Directive and as far as groundwater is concerned.
As far as the term 'deterioration' is concerned, he concluded that there is a deterioration if, as a result of the project, an environmental quality standard is exceeded. However, if the body of groundwater is already in the lowest class within the meaning of Annex V to Directive 2000/60, any subsequent increase in the concentration of a pollutant that exceeds the environmental quality standard or threshold value set by the Member State shall constitute a deterioration. EurEau members can log into the intranet to read more in the news section, particularly for what this means to the European water sector.
Besides this, GA Hogan gave his opinion to several provisions concerning the right to access to a court to review an authorisation of a public project (here: highway junction).
Drinking Water Directive
The European Parliament, the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU and the European Commission will hold a fifth (and possibly last) trilogue to negotiate the Drinking Water Directive legislative text on the 18 December in Strasbourg (today).
Both the EP and Council positions have further improved the European Commission proposal, especially concerning elements such as the quality parameters (by better adhering to the WHO recommendations), the frequency of monitoring of chemical parameters, and most of all, they developed an EU-wide system for hygienic requirements for materials in contact with drinking water!
We will communicate to you if the three institutions find an agreement before the end of the year. EurEau members should keep an eye on their mailboxes for updates this week.
Europe’s Green Deal
Ten days into their mandate, the European Commission adopted its Communication on a European Green Deal, available here. You can find the Roadmap with actions here. This comes as a major political signal to the other European Institutions and to the European citizens.
If you are interested in more details on which measures concern water services you can read more on the ‘EU matters’ blog.
Our reaction is here.
The Commission released it’s evaluation of the UWWTD last week. It looks increasingly likely that the directive will be reviewed. You can read more here.
It was a busy month for the Commission as they also released the evaluation of the WFD. You can read more about it here.
Water Reuse Regulation
The EU has agreed the Water Reuse Regulation. We are pleased with the outcome. You can check the website this week for more from us.
European Forum of Regulators of Water Services
A big EurEau delegation attended the first EFRWS organised by WAREG, the network of European Water Regulators and ARERA, the Italian Regulatory Authority.
The EurEau President, Dr Claudia Castell-Exner, spoke on the Governance of water services and the societal challenges faced by the water sector. The co-Chair of the EurEau Committee on Waste Water, Sarah Gillman, presented our views on sludge management in the session on ‘sustainability and innovation’. Gari Villa-Landa Sokolova intervened on behalf of AEAS in the ‘governance’ session, explaining the Spanish situation and Bertel Ifversen from DANVA presenting the Danish experience on benchmarking. All the presentations from the Forum are available here.
Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development re-established!
The 9th Legislature of the European Parliament will be very busy working on climate files and advancing the sustainable development goals. It comes as an excellent news then that MEPs have decided to re-establish the Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development that EurEau sponsors: all 7 political groups have agreed to support the continuation of the intergroup: rendering it the biggest support for any proposal received, as well as more than double of the 3 political groups’ support required! The three co-Chairs of the working group on water management will be Mr Cristophe Hansen (EPP/Luxembourg), Tiemo Woelken (S&D/Germany) and Ms Chrysoula Zacharopoulou (France, Renew Europe).
Congratulations to the Intergroup Secretariat, professionally managed by the EBCD team!
Green finance: EU co-legislators reach agreement
As part of its Action Plan 'Financing Sustainable Growth', the Commission proposed a Regulation on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment (Taxonomy Regulation) with a view to avoiding greenwashing, reorienting capital flows towards sustainable investment and applying the “do no harm principle” to financial investments. The Council and Parliament now agree on the main sticking point - the recognition of nuclear energy and natural gas as transition sources of energy. The new rules might affect the availability of capital and interest rates for many types of investment
Discussing water policy with the EEB
Carla and Bertrand from the EurEau Secretariat met with the members of the European Environment Bureau (EEB) in Brussels and had an interesting exchange of views on the EU water policy. Starting from the results of the evaluation of the WFD we discussed with the green NGOs interesting issues such as cost recovery, the Drinking Water Directive and the Water Reuse Regulation.
Pharmaceuticals in the Environment: Commission and WHO workshop
EurEau’s Secretary General, Oliver Loebel, sat on an expert panel to discuss solutions to pharmaceuticals in the environment, together with representatives from the WHO, the World Bank, the European Commission, producers and NGOs. The workshop, organised in Zaragoza, Spain on 13 December, explored ways to strengthen control-at-source measures and considered the pros and cons of end-of-pipe treatment and Extended Producer Responsibility.
Out and about
EurEau Secretary General Oliver Loebel spoke at the Union for the Mediterranean Annual Conference on Water Investment and Financing on 5 December in Rome, Italy, on private financing.
Carla Chiaretti from the EurEau Secretariat attended the 6 December Conference on Member States’ investment needs and financing options for the water sectors in the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. The OECD is finalising their report on the investment needs in the water sector commissioned by the European Commission and it should be available in early 2020.
News from members
The Danish water sector has released its annual overview of water in Denmark. You can view it here.
15 January – EurEau President Dr Claudia Castell-Exner will give a presentation on Europäische Mikroschadstoffstrategie (the European strategy for micropollutants) at the University of Dresden at the final conference of the Mikro-Modell project, which focuses on 15 January 2020.
13 – 14 February 2020 - Marche-en-Famenne, Belgium. AQUAWAL and her partners will be at the ‘water Village’ as part of the Municipalia Salon. AQUAWAL, la CILE, in BW, INASEP, SWDE, SPGE and VIVAQUA invite EurEau members to visit!
9-10 March 2020 - Urban Resilience in a context of Climate Change (URCC) Conference, organised in the framework of the RESCCUE project, will take place in Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site, in Barcelona Spain. You can find all the information here.
1-3 April 2020 – Lisbon, Portugal. Urban Future Global Conference. One of the themes is water. If you would like to speak at the event, contact the organisers and propose a topic. More…
15-16 June 2020 - European Sustainable Phosphorus Conference, Vienna, Austria. The call for abstracts for presentations for the six parallel sessions is open. More…
3 July 2020 – Lisbon, Portugal. OSPAR Ministerial Meeting.
25-28 May 2021 – CEOCOR; hosted by ÖVGW in Vienna, Austria.