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EurEau newsletter - November-December 2023

EurEau News

A Water Resilience Strategy for Europe; Our vision for our water’s future

Our society, economy, environment and health depend on each of us having access to reliable, clean and affordable water every day. Your European water services strive every day to do this.

We need a robust 360° strategy at European level to ensure that water services are protected across all areas. We call on the EU to prioritise:

  1. Giving water its right place
  2. Protecting the quality of our water resources
  3. Addressing climate change
  4. Enhancing the Circular Economy
  5. Financing change while keeping water services affordable
  6. Improving security and resilience and guaranteeing the protection of sensitive information.

Read more in our Water Resilience Strategy for Europe; Our Vision for our Water’s Future.


Ambitions of the water sector - Enabling factors

The water services sector has the ambition to play a front-running role in Europe’s journey to building a climate-neutral, circular, smart and resilient society.

We have identified five success factors we must achieve to set the sector on the path to change.

Our paper is here.


EurEau Position Paper on the Directive on Soil Monitoring and Resilience

While EurEau welcomes the Commission’s action to address the condition of soils, we regret the lower ambition shown by the proposed Directive on Soil Monitoring and Resilience compared to the abandoned project of a Soil Health Law. You can read our latest position paper here

The file is progressing in the European Parliament’s ENVI Committee. In late November, MEPs tabled amendments including provisions to take groundwater status and soil contamination by priority substances into account when assessing soil health. Negotiations on compromise amendments are expected to take place in the new year.


Water Sector Research and Innovation Priorities - 2023 update

Innovation is key to guaranteeing the affordability of safe, sustainable and resilient water services for the decades to come. The research needs are compiled in this document and should help policy makers in designing research and innovation programmes in a way that responds to the real needs of drinking water and wastewater operators.

You can read our report here


EurEau Position Paper on Dental amalgam and the Mercury Regulation

EurEau welcomes and strongly supports the European Commission’s Proposal to amend the Mercury Regulation, banning the use, manufacture and export of dental amalgam from 2025, which will not only contribute to a long-term reduction of mercury in the water bodies but also to the circular economy by allowing for a decrease of mercury in treated urban wastewater for reuse in agricultural irrigation and in sewage sludge from wastewater treatment. You can read the Position Paper here.


Speaking out

Klara Ramm, our Polish General Assembly member, represented EurEau at the III 3W Congress in Warsaw on 27-28 November. 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.

Gari Villa-Landa, EurEau Senior Policy Officer, spoke about EPR in the UWWTD at the 18 Expo Conferência da Água (Lisbon, 23-24 November) in the panel on the future of the ‘EU Directive on Municipal Wastewater: the next great challenge of the water sector’.

Oliver Loebel, EurEau Secretary General, joined the panel on the UWWTD at the 3rd European Forum on the Regulation of Water Services (EFRWS), organised by WAREG in Brussels on 6 December.


EU news

Water legislation

UWWTD: negotiations in trilogue started

The European Commission, the Council and the European Parliament have started negotiations amongst themselves (trilogue) to agree on the final text of the future Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive, both on the political and the technical levels. The draft of the final UWWTD (recast) is expected in February 2024.


Water and agriculture

Pesticides: Parliament votes against water protection in SUR rejection

The European Parliament's plenary rejected the report of the Environment Committee (ENVI) on the Sustainable Use of Plant Protection Products Regulation (SUR). This follows the submission of hundreds of amendments to weaken the ENVI report. Furthermore, MEP's refused to refer the report back to the ENVI Committee. In practice, this means that the SUR is dead and all our efforts were in vain. Member States still need to decide whether they want to adopt a common approach or stop all work on this topic.

EurEau regrets the Parliament vote, as the ENVI report contained valuable provisions to improve the protection of drinking water resources from pesticide contamination. You can read more here.


Pesticides: Glyphosate authorisation extended

The European Commission has adopted the Implementing Regulation to renew the approval of glyphosate for another 10 years, as Member States failed to agree on a common position.

We will continue to keep an eye on the situation. You can read our position here.

The Commission’s statement, the Q&A page and the Commission’s glyphosate webpage.


Nitrates Directive: Commission initiates evaluation process

The Commission launched the evaluation of the Nitrates Directive by publishing a Call for Evidence and a Public Consultation. This process may result in the revision of the directive.

A strong and effectively implemented directive is paramount for the protection of drinking water resources. 

The call for evidence and the public consultation are here.


Water and the environment

Chemical companies called upon to stop producing PFAS

Top chemical firms from around the world are being called upon to stop producing PFAS chemicals, liking their continued manufacture and use to asbestos. The Investor Initiative on Hazardous Chemicals (IIHC), which is coordinated by ChemSec, informed the companies that they are leaving themselves open to potentially costly health liabilities, like those faced by companies that used asbestos after its health impacts were known. 

Given their persistence, mobility and the inherent difficulty of effectively removing them from the urban water cycle, all uses of PFAS should be phased out rapidly and PFAS themselves be banned.

You can read more about water and PFAS here, and more from ChemSec on this here.


Industrial Emissions Directive: Compromise reached in trilogue

The European Parliament, Commission and Council agreed on a final version of the revised Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) in late November, following trilogue negotiations. The agreed text will oblige competent authorities to set the lowest achievable emission limits and issue binding water consumption targets when delivering permits to industrial facilities.

The compromise text is expected to be adopted by formal votes in Parliament and Council early next year.


Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation: MEPs want PFAS ban  

The European Parliament’s plenary adopted the Environment Committee report on the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation. While many provisions were weakened, MEPs approved the ban for the use of the “forever chemicals” PFAS and for Bisphenol A in food packaging.

EurEau strongly supports control-at-source measures for these substances which are difficult to remove once they a released in the water cycle.

Member States still have to adopt their position before launching trilogue negotiations to agree the final provisions.

The text adopted by the EP Plenary is here


Taxonomy: acts published

The Taxonomy Environmental Delegated Act and the amendments to the Climate Delegated Act were published in the Official Journal of the EU on 21 November.


Pharmaceuticals Legislative Package: Amendments tabled

Members of the European Parliament’s ENVI Committee tabled amendments to the proposed Pharmaceuticals Directive and Regulation in November, showing a sharp split on environmental aspects between the EPP, ECR and ID bloc and other political groups. Most right-leaning MEPs moved to weaken or delete environmental protection clauses from both texts. Amendments from other groups, by contrast, largely preserved or reinforced these elements, with some introducing additional requirements for medicines containing priority substances listed in the Water Framework Directive (WFD).

In its initial proposal, the Commission most notably obliged relevant authorities to refuse market authorisation for pharmaceuticals whose environmental impact assessment does not meet criteria laid out in the draft Directive and Regulation.

Negotiations over compromise amendments in ENVI are now set to take place ahead of a Committee vote scheduled in March 2024.


Water as an essential service

Resilience: CER; Commission defines essential services in Delegated Act

Pursuant to Article 5 of the Critical Entities Resilience Directive, the Commission adopted a Delegated Regulation establishing a non-exhaustive list of essential services based on the sectors identified in the annex to this Directive. This list will be used by competent authorities for the purpose of conducting risk assessments and to identify critical entities.

The delegated act will have no impact on the inclusion of drinking water and wastewater operators.

The delegated act is here.


Resilience: CI; Commission Blueprint on disruptive Critical Infrastructure cross-border incidents

The Council is currently discussing a Commission proposal for a Council Recommendation for a Critical Infrastructure (CI) Blueprint in order to enhance the EU's coordination to respond to disruptions of CI with significant cross-border relevance. The Blueprint aims to improve awareness, facilitate public communication and coordinate effective response to such incidents.

The proposed Blueprint is here.


Resilience: Security; Commission Communication on threats from civilian drones

The Commission presented a Communication on countering threats posed by unlawful and dangerous use of drones that are designed for civil use.

The Communication is accompanied by two JRC handbooks containing practical guidance on key technical aspects of the EU Drone policy.

To the Communication and the handbooks here.


Resilience: CEN adopted Workshop Agreements on critical infrastructures

CEN/CWA 18028:2023 addresses gaps in the definition of electronic messages format exchanged during a crisis whereas CEN/CWA 18024:2023 provides requirements and recommendations for a standardised set of information that can be used by affected CI to inform national competent authorities.


Gigabit Infrastructure Act (Broadband)

The Council adopted its general approach on 5 December 2023. The Parliament adopted its position in September. Trilogues started the very same day.

The exception of drinking water infrastructure from the regulation has been maintained and supported by all institutions. Furthermore, the Parliament but especially also the Council, have underlined and strengthened the exceptions for critical national infrastructure and critical infrastructure from the regulation.


Innovation Sharing Platform news

We will host a webinar on GHG accounting in the drinking water sector in January. Invitations will be sent soon.


Other news

Water TV in the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic launched its first water-focussed television station; iVodárenství. The station works closely with the water industry associations SOVAK ČR, CzWA and Svaz vodního hospodářství. It broadcasts 24/7, bringing educational programs about water in all its forms.
iVodárenství TV does not target only water professionals but also the wider public. The station will bring interviews, and documentaries on drinking and wastewater treatment while showcasing the uniqueness of the water sector.

You can watch TV iVodárenství on a classic TV in the Czech Republic, or download the iVodárenství TV app on your phone or tablet or go to and download it there.


Water Resilience Initiative

The European Commission organised a Stakeholder meeting to present and discuss the Water Resilience Initiative (WRI) on 29 November.

The WRI builds on the EU Vision for 2050 on Water, which aims to achieve, amongst others, water security for all and global resilience to water stress, and will complement the European Climate Risk Assessment (EUCRA). It will be addressed through an inter-service group in the COM (with the participation of most Directorates) and it will focus on economic, social and environmental objectives, defining three groups of enablers: governance, sustainable financing and investments, and innovation and digital solutions.

A report is expected to be launched in March 2024, complemented by a communication campaign based on partnership and co-creation.



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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