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EurEau Newsletter - October 2023

EurEau News

DWD implementation: EurEau calls for a harmonised leakage index

EurEau supports the Drinking Water Directive’s (DWD) goal of reducing water leakage but emphasises the need for reliable data to underpin this effort. As the first step towards leakage reduction plans will involve calculating a Union average leakage rate, Member States must include the same index in their reporting. This index should be based on volumetric units so that all drinking water operators can easily implement it within the DWD timeframe.

You can read our position paper here.


Speaking out

Oliver Loebel, EurEau Secretary General, joined the panel as part of the Politico discussion on water scarcity on 10 October 2023.

Susanne Vangsgård spoke about NIS II and the CERD at the III Critical Infrastructure of Cities CIC 2023conference organised by Sądeckie Wodociągi in Nowy Sącz, Poland on October 23–25 2023.

Klara Ramm will represent EurEau at the III 3W Congress in Warsaw on November 27-28. 3W stands for water, hydrogen and carbon: the three interdependent resources which we identify as key to achieving a sustainable future – in Poland and beyond.


EU news

Legislative developments

European Commission Work Programme 2024

The European Commission published its work programme for the next year. We welcome its stronger focus on water, with an Initiative for Water Resilience, planned for early 2024.

We were surprised however to see that highly important Green Deal measures have fallen off the agenda. It is particularly disappointing that a key Control at Source measure - the long-due revision of REACH - and the Integrated Nutrient Management Action Plan (INMAP) that would help to close nutrient cycles and that was also expected months ago, have been postponed to an unspecified date.

Read the programme here.


Water legislation

UWWTD: Trilogue beckons

The European Parliament’s plenary voted on the UWWTD in early October. While welcoming the amendments related to energy neutrality, non-domestic wastewater discharges and individual systems, among others, we regret that the EPR provisions were diluted somewhat. Our full reaction is here.

The Council also concluded their negotiations on the Directive. It includes amendments that will facilitate the implementation this paramount piece of legislation. We especially appreciate the extension of most deadlines and the calling for the full implementation of an EPR scheme to cover the costs of quaternary treatment, as a means to realise the Polluter Pays Principle in the water sector. Our reaction.

Trilogues between the three institutions to decide on the final wording will start in November 2023.


Water and agriculture

Sustainable Use of Pesticides: ENVI votes to protect water

The European Parliament’s ENVI Committee adopted the report of MEP Sarah Wiener on the controversial Sustainable Use of Plant Protection Products Regulation (SUR).

We welcome the Parliament’s wish to largely ban chemical pesticide use in drinking water protection areas, require a better alignment with the Drinking Water Directive, include metabolites of pesticides in the scope, grant drinking water operators access to pesticide application data and develop a comprehensive monitoring programme.

Despite many shortcomings in the text, we call on the European Parliament’s plenary meeting of 21-22 November to adopt the ENVI report. Our scarce water resources must be protected from pesticide pollution.


Soil Monitoring Law: Draft Report published

Rapporteur Martin Hojsík (Renew, SK) has published his initial set of amendments to the Soil Monitoring and Resilience Directive (aka, the Soil Monitoring Law) proposed by the Commission in July. In his Draft Report, Hojsík recommended a comprehensive change of approach in the way soil health is assessed, in particular setting a five-level scale of soil health status. He also called for all soil descriptors to be assigned criteria at the EU level, whereas the Commission proposal left much of the decision-making to Member States.

Members of the ENVI Committee have until 27 November to table additional amendments.


Water and the environment

Pharmaceuticals Legislative Package: Draft Reports published

Rapporteurs Pernille Weiss and Tiemo Wölken have published their initial sets of amendments to the proposed Pharmaceuticals Directive and Regulation, respectively. While Wölken’s Draft Report on the Regulation preserved and enhanced key environmental protection clauses proposed by the Commission, Weiss’s Draft Report on the Directive largely weakened the proposed text’s environmental aspects.

Members of the ENVI Committee have until 13 November to table additional amendments to the Regulation, and until 14 November for the Directive. Negotiations over compromise amendments will then take place ahead of a Committee vote scheduled in March 2024.


Mercury Regulation: Rapporteur draft report published

The Rapporteur’s (Marlene Mortler; EPP, DE) Draft Report on mercury as regards dental amalgam and other mercury-added products was published on October 24. The Rapporteur proposes postponing the implementation of the ban on the use, manufacture and export of dental amalgam for a further two years (so, commencing in 2027). We do not support this extension on the use of dental amalgam. You can read more in our position.


REACH: microplastics restriction enters into force

The REACH restriction on intentionally added microplastics in products entered into force on 17 October 2023. It is estimated that over 20 years, the proposed restriction would prevent the release of about half a million tonnes of microplastics into the environment. This restriction will prohibit the sale of microplastics as such, and of products to which microplastics have been added on purpose and that release those microplastics when used. EurEau welcomes this restriction but remains critical of long transition periods.

We want micropollutants in the environment to be dealt with in a holistic manner by all stakeholders involved along a products entire life cycle starting from strong precautionary and Control at Source measures.


Microplastics pollution: Commission proposal to prevent pellet losses

The Commission launched its proposal for a Regulation on preventing pellet losses to reduce microplastic pollution on 16 October 2023.

We welcome this draft law which proposes for the first time measures to prevent microplastic pollution from the unintentional release of plastic pellets.


Detergents Regulation: EurEau calls for control-at-source measures

Further to the Commission’s proposal to revise the Detergents Regulation, the Parliament’s rapporteur (Manuela Ripa MEP; Greens, DE) has published her report which contains a number of improvements to the weak Commission text. They include extended biodegradability criteria, restrictions on the use of hazardous substances and lower phosphorous limit values. 

We call on the co-legislators to implement more control-at-source measures in line with stricter urban wastewater treatment requirements and lower environmental quality standards for Europe’s water bodies. Our positon is here.



14-16 November 2023 - 2023 IWA Digital Water Summit, Bilbao, Spain. AEAS is co-organising the 2023 IWA Digital Water Summit. More…

27-30 November 2023 - ENEG - National Meeting of Water and Sanitation Management Entities, Porto, Portugal. More …

6 December 2023 – WAREG: The 3rd European Forum on the Regulation of Water Services will be focused on the evolving European legislation to achieve EU Green Deal targets. Brussels, Belgium and online. More…

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.



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