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EurEau newsletter - November 2021

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EurEau News

EurEau position paper on Environmental Quality Standards for Pharmaceuticals

EurEau position paper on Environmental Quality Standards is published here. EurEau supports the setting of Environmental Quality Standards (EQS) for pharmaceuticals provided several pre-conditions are met.


EurEau position paper on industrial discharge into sewers

Our position paper on industrial discharges into sewers focuses on the source control of industrial waste water. We support strengthening the provisions of the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) and the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWTD) and/or its implementing regulations, to ensure the involvement of Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) operators in the permitting process, guarantee their access to timely information, enforce compliance, and apply the Polluter Pays Principle.


EurEau position paper on energy efficiency

EurEau supports the general objective of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) which is to promote energy efficiency next to using renewable energies with the overall goal to achieve energy and climate neutrality. The EED and the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) must accompany and support this process, taking into account the GHG emissions as the main indicator.

Read our position here.


EurEau position paper on Renewable energy

Although the Renewable Energy Directive (RED III) does not specifically address the water sector, the water cycle has renewable energy generation potential, i.e.: the generation of electricity from hydraulic turbines, biogas from sewage sludge, electricity and thermal energy from sewage sludge mono-incineration, electricity from on-site windmills and solar panels, heat pumps and thermal energy from waste water at several stages of the water cycle. Hence, the water sector substantially contributes to the renewable energy targets and climate policies.

Read our position here.


EurEau values our water services

COP26 focussed attention on climate change. While water is the backbone of our economy and society, it is also heavily affected by changing weather patterns. Politicians and our societies as a whole must develop a better understanding of the value of water services so that water operators can assume their responsibility to ensure sufficient safe drinking water and properly treated waste water for future generations. You can read our press release here.


EurEau’s podcast ‘Water Matters’ season2

Water Matters podcast continues, with episodes on taxonomy, valuing our water services, financing and the governance of water services!

You can listen on your favourite podcast app or by clicking on the above links. Just look for ‘Water Matters’.  


Speaking Out

Bertrand Vallet, EurEau’s Senior Policy Officer, presented the European policy priorities for the water sector at SOVAK conference on 2 November.

Oliver Loebel, EurEau Secretary General, spoke at the Balkans Conference on 3 November (online).

On 24 November, Bertrand was on a panel discussion at the stakeholder engagement webinar of the FAIRWAY Project to present the projects where drinking water operators and farmers are cooperating for the protection for drinking water resources. He focussed on our Briefing Note, published last year. 

Dr Claudia Castell-Exner, EurEau President, spoke at the European Parliament Intergroup meeting on PFAS on 29 November to highlight that control at source is the only way to keep PFAS out of the environment, thereby protecting people and the planet.

Caroline Greene, EurEau’s Senior Communications Manager presented how we communicate our water research and data at the European House – Ambrosetti on 29 November.

Claudia was at the Wareg online event on 1 December to speak about Removing Regulatory Barriers for Water Innovation. Technological and non-technological innovation is a key driver for the water sector to achieve fully sustainable and resilient water services now and for future generations.


EU news

Water legislation

UWWTD revision: stakeholder meeting – follow-up

The European Commission held a stakeholder meeting on the next steps of the UWWTD on 26 October. They expect a proposal to come in “mid-2022”.

In our last newsletter, we explained what happened in the stakeholder workshop on 26 October. Now nearly all presentations are available here. We hope the missing one and the report will be uploaded soon.

The directive concerns the collection, treatment and discharge of urban waste water and the treatment and discharge of waste water from certain industrial sectors.


Bathing Water Directive revision: workshop

On 29 and 30 November the European Commission held a workshop on the revision of the Bathing Water Directive.

EurEau is preparing its response to the public consultation that the Commission launched on the revision of the Directive.

The BWD requires Member States to monitor and assess bathing water for at least two parameters of (faecal) bacteria. They must inform the public about BW quality and beach management.

Water and agriculture


CAP: Approval moves on but transposition remains difficult

The European Parliament gave its final green light to the CAP compromise deal negotiated with Member States. Council will rubberstamp the deal within the next weeks.

One goal of the new CAP is help tackle climate change and the sustainable management of natural resources.


New Soil Strategy

The European Commission adopted its new Strategy for Healthy Soils by 2030, announcing a dedicated legislative proposal for 2022. EurEau supports this initiative in that healthy and unsealed soils are a prerequisite for the protection of drinking water resources and sustainable water management. To know more about it, have a look at the ‘EU matters’ blog here.

Part of the EU 2030 biodiversity strategy, this initiative will update the current strategy to address soil degradation and preserve land resources. The goals are to: protect soil fertility, lower erosion, increase organic matter, and define ‘good ecological status’ for soils.


Water and the environment

Microplastics: Commission to prepare legislation on unintentional releases

In late 2022, the Commission will present a legislative proposal to mitigate the unintentional release of microplastics (textile fibres, tyres wear particles, pellets) through source-control measures. A preparatory study, led by Biois and aiming to assess a wide range of mitigation measures, is currently underway.

To the study webpage


Pharmaceutical legislation revision: public consultation open

The public consultation on the pharmaceutical legislation is open, with a deadline of 21 December.

With 527 votes in favour, 92 against and 70 abstentions, the Plenary the European Parliament endorsed the Montserrat Report broadly as adopted by the ENVI Committee on the Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe. You can know more by reading the ‘EU matters’ blog here.

The legal framework for human medicines sets standards to ensure a high level of public health protection and the quality, safety and efficacy of medicines. It promotes the functioning of the internal market, with measures to encourage innovation. A medicinal product requires a marketing authorisation by the competent authorities before being placed on the market.


Revision of CLP Regulation: public consultation

EurEau submitted its feedback to the public consultation on the revision of the Classification, Labelling and Packaging of substances and mixtures (CLP Regulation) launched by the Commission.

The revision of the CLP Regulation aims to position it as the overarching instrument for EU chemical legislation through the establishment of hazard classes EDC, PBT, vPvB, PMT and vPvM, and the criteria to assess these hazardous properties, together with the one substance-one assessment principle. This would mean that a substance classified for its hazardous properties under CLP, will be considered hazardous in all other pieces of chemical legislation, thus, allowing for a swifter classification and restriction of PFAS for their persistent, bio-accumulative, mobile and toxic properties.

We expect the Commission’s proposal in Q2 2022.


RED and EED: EurEau supports renewable energy production

The Commission adopted a proposal for the RED and EED (Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency) directives in July 2021 and EurEau has submitted its feedback.

EurEau supports the general objective of the EED and the RED as a means to achieve energy and climate neutrality.

It is necessary to modify the definition of biomass in RED so that sewage sludge is duly recognised as a source of origin of biogas.

We stress the renewable energy production and the energy-saving achievements in the urban water cycle, being aware that, towards climate neutrality, there may be a trade-off between renewable energy production, energy efficiency and GHG emissions. We support the energy and especially GHG emission audits. These individual baselines open the possibility to respect the different efforts already made. Next to this, it also opens the facility level from which the energy and climate savings can be deducted.

The RED sets rules for the EU to achieve its 20% renewables target by 2020 while the EED will lead to stronger action on climate change, a GHG emission reduction of 50% and will contribute to other Green Deal initiatives.

Water as an essential service


NIS Directive: EU Parliament approves negotiating position with Council

On 28 October, the European Parliament’s ITRE committee adopted its report on the NIS2 directive and mandated the rapporteurs to launch negotiations with the Council on the final text. While EurEau welcomes the decision to include certain public sector companies in the SME definition, concerns remain regarding the potential inclusion of and related costs for very small operators. 

Member States are finalising their common approach in the Council.

More details here.

Security of Network and Information Systems Directive (NIS) sets a range of network and information security requirements that apply to operators of essential services (including DW and WW operators) and digital service providers.


Concessions Directive: Commission assesses water exclusion

On 15 November, DG GROW organised a meeting on the functioning of the Concessions directive and the impact of the water sector exclusion.

As to the water sector, only three Member States apply the directive and three more apply it partially. The discussion showed that assessing the impact of the water sector exclusion is difficult and solutions are usually adapted to local circumstances.

The Commission will present its reports on the above two topics before summer 2022.  

More details here.

The Concessions Directive sets out for a regime for public procurement which sits apart from the main regime governing public contracts. It applies to both works and services concession contracts above a value of €5.225m.


Other news

EEA reports published

The EEA published a new report at the end of September on the assessment of water resources: “Drivers of and pressures arising from selected key water management challenges A European overview”. You can download the PDF for free here.

The EEA published country profiles compiled with regards to compliance to the UWWTD, here.


Communications news

Innovation News Network

Our report on European water services - Europe's Water in Figures - was highlighted by Innovation News Network who interviewed Bertrand Vallet on the key findings of the report. You can find the interview here.



26-27 January 2022 - Smart Water Utilities conference and exhibition. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2022 – CEOCOR; hosted by ÖVGW in Vienna, Austria. (postponed from 2021).

20-22 June 2022 - 4th European Sustainable Phosphorus Platform, Vienna & hybrid  

22-24 June 2022 - Water Safety Conference in Narvik, Norway. More.

11-15 September 2022 - IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition; Water for smart liveable cities in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Call for Content is open and you can read more here.

12-15 September 2022 - LuWQ2022, 5th International Interdisciplinary Conference on LAND USE AND WATER QUALITY: Agriculture and the Environment; Maastricht, The Netherlands.

pharmaceuticals, sewers

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