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EurEau newsletter - edition 47 - May 2020


EurEau News

EurEau welcomes two new members

The EurEau General Assembly approved the applications for full membership from two organisations in the first 2020 GA meeting.

Irish Water (Ireland) consolidates the water and waste water operations and services of the 31 local authorities together under one national service provider. They will share membership with the City and County Managers Association.

Verband Schweizer Abwasser- und Gewässerschutzfachleute (VSA, Switzerland) is the Swiss waste water association. Since 1944, VSA has been committed to clean and living rivers and the protection and sustainable use of water resources. They are the second Swiss association inEurEau, together with SVGW.

This brings our membership to 34 organisations in 29 countries.

EurEau General Assembly – papers approved

Our General Assembly approved several important position papers and briefing notes.

The Report on the governance of water services in Europe (2020 update) is also approved and will be finalised soon.

EU news

Green Deal: Farm-2-Fork Strategy published

The European Commission published its proposed strategy for a sustainable food system in May.

The Farm-2-Fork (F2F) Strategy forms part of the Green Deal. Water and agriculture are intrinsically linked, and the use of substances such as nitrates, pesticides and veterinary medicines is increasingly having a negative impact on the quality of drinking water resources.

We welcome the strategy and call for its full alignment with the EU’s water legislation. Our reaction to the F2F Strategy is here.

Green Deal: Biodiversity strategy published

The European Commission adopted its new Biodiversity Strategy to bring nature, farmers, business and consumers together for a competitive and sustainable future.

It was released at the same time as the Farm to Fork Strategy and forms part of the European Green Deal.

We welcome the Commission’s commitment to protecting consumers and the environment. We are pleased that this strategy links the Circular Economy, sustainability and the Farm-to-Fork Strategy.

Our reaction can be found here.

Drinking Water Directive  

The translations of the DWD text are being reviewed at the national level. Once this is completed, there will be a parliamentary early second reading, with a vote possibly scheduled for November. The entry into force could take place in December.

The impact of some provisions on water operators will depend on how some Member States will transpose some provisions (i.e. on the watch list and on PFAS).

The DWD expert group meeting was held at the end of April and focused on materials in contact with drinking water, something that the Commission has been working on with the ECHA and the EFSA and the JRC.

CWP2020 – revised

The European Commission adopted its work programme for 2020: it is confirmed that the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability will be still adopted in the third quarter of this year, while the Climate Adaptation Strategy is put off to the first semester of 2021, together with the Zero Pollution Action Plan. More details here.

The specifics for each file can be found in the Annex.

Water Legislation Fitness Check -  motion for resolution

The ENVI Committee is developing the draft of a motion for resolution on the fitness check on the water legislation. The deadline for amendments was postponed to the end of June.

Chemical Strategy for Sustainability

The Motion for Resolution on the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability was drafted by the co-sponsors and is available here.MEPs tabled a total of 422 amendments that are available here: AMs 1-366, while amendments 367-422 are here.

Compromise amendments should be drafted in early June.

The ENVI Committee will discuss these on the 8 June and the vote is set for 24-25 June for the moment.

On the Commission side, there is a feedback opportunity on the Chemical strategy roadmap. The deadline to submit comments is 20 June.

Climate Change Adaptation

The ENVI Committee has produced a first draft of a motion for resolution on the Climate Adaptation StrategyThe deadline for amendments by the MEPs was postponed to 9 September.

The European Commission is looking for feedback on the roadmap until the 30 June.

Answers to the public consultation are possible until 20 August.

Recovery Plan for Europe adopted

The European Commission adopted the Recovery Plan for Europe. All the documents can be found here.

The Staff Working Document Identifying Europe's recovery needs highlights the investment needs in water infrastructure as can be read here:

OECD report investment needs

The OECD final report on investment needs was officially launched on 27 May in an online OECD Green Talk. You can read it here.

Our piece on it is here.

ECJ rules on “deterioration”

On 28 May, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) published its judgement on the term “deterioration” as far as groundwater is concerned (case c-535/18).

The ECJ ruled that a deterioration in the chemical status of groundwater means exceeding an EQS or a threshold value as set out in the Groundwater Directive or, if the Groundwater Directive is already in the lowest class, any subsequent increase of the concentration of this pollutant in at least at one sampling point.

Furthermore, the ECJ ruled that persons maintaining domestic wells for their private water supply or using the public water supply and are concerned by the risk of deterioration of the bodies may invoke Article 4 of the WFD to bring judicial proceedings asserting a breach of the prohibition of water deterioration.

Sampling sewer to monitor SARS-CoV-2

The European Commission, through the JRC, is organising a sampling campaign to assess the feasibility for an EU-wide Wastewater Monitoring System for SARS-CoV-2 Surveillance. As the research question is important especially to see if it is possible to relate sewage analysis with epidemiological data and how this information could be used by health authorities to better understand the circulation of the virus in the population, EurEau has mobilised its network to facilitate this study. More information can be found here.

Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive:  impact assessment postponed

It is now confirmed that the European Commission will launch the impact assessment study for a revision of the UWWTD. EurEau is ready to engage with the European Commission to make sure that the challenges that the urban waste water sector is facing will be addressed sustainably.

New Circular Economy Action Plan: Feedback to the Committee of the Regions

The Circular Economy Strategy contains many positive aspects but fails to emphasise the full potential of the water sector, according to EurEau. The starting point must be a toxic-free environment. Water legislation must consistently enable recycling and recovery activities and the market uptake of recovered products must be facilitated.EurEau sent its evaluation of the New Circular Economy Action Plan to the ENVE committee of the Committee of the Regions as input to the opinion drafted by Rapporteur Tjisse Stelpstra.

You can find our input here.

Water Reuse Regulation

On 13 May, the European Parliament adopted in second reading the Water Reuse regulation. We now wait for the publication in the Offical Journal that will set the deadlines for the applications. The text can be found here. Our reaction to the vote is here.

Forthcoming European Commission consultations

Announced for Q3 2020 Sewage sludge use in farming – evaluation

Announced for Q4 2020 Single-use plastic products – labelling requirements

Announced for Q1 2021 Fertilisers authorised for sale in the EU – updated list.

Water Changemakers Award – open for applications

The deadline is coming up for nominations for the Water Changemakers Award. This award aims to “make visible the teams and organisations who shape water decisions that build climate resilience.”

Please see more here and on Twitter.

Communications news

Water and Covid-19

Last month we brought you news from Spain that Mariano Blanco from AEAS wrote about the Spanish water providers response to the Covid-19 crisis and how the sector is working together at this time. At the time the article was only in Spanish. It is now in English, and you can read it here.


***All events are on hold for the time being. Please contact the event organiser for more information***

8-12 June 2020 - IWA’s Nutrient Recovery & Removal conference organised by Aalto University and HSY, Helsinki and Porvoo. Early bird is valid before mid March! Read more:

13-14 July 2020 - Workshop on iron phosphate chemistry applied to phosphorus stewardship; webinar - Themes will cover: Iron phosphorus interactions in sediments, in soils and engineered systems, Strategies for phosphorus release and P-recovery from iron phosphates, Iron - phosphate interactions in agriculture and Markets for recovered iron phosphate materials.

Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

3 July 2020 – Lisbon, Portugal. OSPAR Ministerial Meeting.

30 November -The International Water Association is co-organising the first IWA Digital Water Summit together with the Consorcio de Aguas Bilbao Bizkaia and AEAS in Bilbao, Spain.More:
17-18 November 2020 - 3rd Water JPI Conference from in Mulheim an der Ruhr.

25-28 May 2021 – CEOCOR; hosted by ÖVGW in Vienna, Austria.

31 May – 2 June 2021 (postponed from 15-16 June 2020) European Sustainable Phosphorus Conference (ESPC4) and PERM, Vienna, Austria


11-13 August 2021 - Water Safety Conference in Norway

You can keep up with all the EurEau news via our website, our EU Matters blog and on our FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter feeds. 

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