EurEau newsletter - January 2024

EurEau newsletter - January 2024

EurEau newsletter - January 2024

‍‍EurEau news

Speaking out

Sébastien Mouret, EurEau Policy Advisor, will speak about the impact of micropollutants on the European water sector at the British Water Micropollutants Conference in Leeds (UK) on 8 February. 

Oliver Loebel, EurEau Secretary General, will make the keynote speech on the impact of climate change on water services at a two-day training course hosted by the European University Institute (Florence, IT) on 20-21 February 2024. 

‍EU news

Water legislation

Materials in contact with drinking water

On 23 January, the Commission published the secondary legislation setting out a list of materials and constituents authorised to be in contact with drinking water, as well as rules for materials to be added to the list. Following formal approval of the three Delegated Acts (by the co-legislators) and three Implementing Acts (by Committee procedure), the Commission expects to publish all six documents in the Official Journal by March.

This EU-wide legislation replaces national legislation and will come into effect on 01.01.27.


UWWTD: agreement reached

January 2024 was a busy month, with many trilogue meetings, especially technical ones.

We welcome the provisional political agreement reached in trilogue on 29 January, as it provides a clear pathway for the wastewater sector, towards a sustainable and resilient future.

We are pleased to see support for the Polluter Pays Principle, with producers having to pay a minimum of 80% of the costs incurred for removing any pollution that may occur from their products. This is a truly innovative approach, protecting the affordability of wastewater services while encouraging investment in less polluting products.

The introduction of Urban Wastewater Management Plans is another innovative element in the Directive. It will stimulate a holistic approach towards managing storm water in a changing climate.

Some technical aspects are still to be ironed out. The EU is still aiming at finalising the Directive before the European Parliament elections in June.


20-22 February 2024 - 3-day training on water & waste at Florence School of Regulation. Morning sessions are dedicated to keynote speeches & lectures, while afternoon sessions are dedicated to the presentation and discussion of case studies. Registration and programme


14-17 April 2024 – IWA Water Loss, San Sebastian, Spain. Many of the world’s leading experts in the field of Non-Revenue Water Management will be present and will discuss the latest developments, strategies, techniques and applications of international best practices as well as successful case studies.


29-30 May 2024 - EU Green Week 2024 will focus on water resilience this year.


5-7 June 2024 – Urban Future, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Thousands of CityChangers from all over the world share how they create transformation and which mistakes are made, accelerating change and successfully shaping the future of our cities. This year's theme will look at water. More


19-20 September 2024 - Achieving Zero Pollution of Persistent and Mobile Substances through Substance Grouping and Risk Assessment workshop, Dessau, Germany. Hosted by UBA. 

Water and agriculture

Nitrates Directive

The Commission launched the evaluation of this Directive with a call for evidence and a public consultation, with a deadline of early March. 


Sustainable Use of Pesticides Regulation: staying alive… but only just

After the Commission’s proposal was rejected by Parliament, the Belgian Council presidency is trying to keep the initiative alive. In a ‘tentative strategy’ based on new Commission proposals, they want to start from the current compromise text but improve the measures related to Integrated Pest Management implementation and biocontrol tools. Measures for sensitive areas and the protection of drinking water resources would be excluded and the toothless provisions of the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive would be maintained.

Even this weakened approach does currently not gather sufficient support in Council. 


Water and the environment

Microplastics pollution: Commission Proposal to prevent pellet losses

We are finalising our position on reducing reducing microplastics. We shared our views with the European Parliament. We advocate extending the control at source approach for pellet losses and the accountability of those behind such losses.


Mercury Regulation: ban incoming

The European Parliament’s Plenary vote took place on January 18, voting to support the introduction of a ban in 2025. EurEau supports this stance. We also circulated our position paper to the Belgian Presidency.


PFAS pollution: The long way towards a ban

Based on the proposal of five countries, the European Chemicals Agency ECHA is working on a REACH restriction proposal to ban all non-essential PFAS uses. Following the public consultation of 2023, a revised proposal is in preparation.

Amid increasing resistance from the PFAS industry, EurEau is campaigning in support of a far-reaching PFAS ban. New requirements for drinking water, wastewater, surface water and groundwater bodies to protect public health and the environment must be addressed at the source of the pollution.


IED: final text marks victory for water protection

We welcome the agreement reached in trilogue on the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) last month, which brings important advances for the protection of water resources and water infrastructure from industrial pollution. The final text, expected to receive approval in the coming months, introduces binding water efficiency targets for industrial sites as well as stricter limits on the emission of pollutants. The revised Directive also requires an open dialogue between industries discharging into urban sewers and the affected wastewater operators, and promotes greater transparency notably by making permits and emission monitoring results public.


Detergents Regulation: Cleaning up our environment

The EU Parliament’s ENVI committee is currently negotiating compromise amendments on the Commission proposal for the revised Regulation. We are pleased to see that the Committee is going beyond the Commission’s approach, by including measures to ensure detergents do not harm the environment and affect wastewater treatment. The ENVI Committee vote will take place in mid-February.

As progress in Council remains slow, the Regulation is unlikely to be approved before the European elections.

Textile Labelling: EurEau calls for more information on hazardous substances

The Commission intends to update the Textile Labelling Regulation with a view to improving information to consumers and ensuring a level playing field.

In response to the public consultation, EurEau calls on policymakers to inform consumers about the presence of hazardous substances in textiles (in particular PFAS and biocides), the shedding of microfibres and overall water use. 


This Regulation currently focuses on textile fibre names and related labelling.

‍Information Sharing Platform News

We are renaming our Innovation Sharing Platform to ‘Information Sharing Platform’ to better align it with members' needs.

We will host a webinar on GHG accounting in the drinking water sector on 19 March at 14h. We will send invitations soon. If you’d like to be included in the invitation list, let us know.

Other news

Water Resilience Initiative

EU Green Week 2024 will focus on water resilience this year. The high-level conference will take place from 29-30 May 2024 and partner events will take place until 1 September 2024. The call for partner events should be launched very soon, and the application period will be opened from 4-17 March 2024.


EU Biosolids Observatory

The EFAR (European Federation for Agricultural Recycling) is setting up a European Biosolids Observatory, aiming at the collection, packaging, transport and analysis of representative samples of sewage sludge from a significant number of sewage treatment plants located in different EU countries.


Happy birthday!

AquaFlanders will celebrate 50 years this year. Happy birthday to all our AquaFlanders colleagues past and present, and we wish you wonderful celebrations!

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