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EurEau reaction to the Commission's Soil Monitoring Law

Healthy soil is paramount for groundwater and water services operators. EurEau welcomes the introduction of a Soil Monitoring Law as published yesterday (05.07.23) and calls for a strong link with groundwater - and surface water - quality.

A robust Soil Monitoring Law will provide a comprehensive EU legal framework for soil protection and will, in turn, help protect our water resources and keep these safe and affordable for everyone. Soil plays an essential role in protecting water resources as they adsorb and withhold substances from entering ground and surface waters. Healthy soils are therefore essential ecosystems for the water sector in delivering valuable natural functions such as water purification and infiltration, nutrient regulation and pest control.

Bearing in mind the strong nexus between soil and water, we are disappointed that integration or coordination between the two is not particularly strong. We also note that there is no mention of nutrients or nutrient losses in the proposal. In addition, we would have liked to see requirements instead of guidelines for the sustainable use of soil so that it can be an effective ecosystem.

On a positive note, we are pleased to see that Member States are required to monitor and report on the condition of the soil, with options to identify, register and remediate contaminated sites, and to apply the Polluter Pays Principle, although these lack specifics. Member States will be required to report on progress in managing soil contamination, however.

The draft contains proposals for the development of indicators for soil health, which EurEau has called for.

We are looking forward to working with the EU institutions on the next steps for this proposal.

polluter pays principle, groundwater, water matters, soil monitoring law

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