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EurEau reaction to the EU's strategic agenda

Member States put ‘water resilience’ on their strategic agenda, but do they mean it?

EurEau is encouraged to see that Member States added the need to strengthen water resilience to their Strategic Agenda, which was approved yesterday evening. This add-on was slipped into the text at the last moment, showing that enthusiasm for it was limited. This reluctance is surprising, as well-functioning, resilient and competitive societies need safe access to sufficient quantities of unpolluted water resources and healthy drinking water. Without water resilience, there will be no food security, no striving industries, and no social cohesion.

Europe’s water service providers support all efforts to make Europe a truly water-resilient continent. For this to happen, we need a long-term strategy as to how ‘traditional’ (drinking water, agriculture etc.) and new water uses (hydrogen, chip plants etc.) can be met while restoring biodiversity. And we need to eliminate the release of hazardous chemicals to the aquatic environment at the source. This includes a prompt and far-reaching ban of the forever chemicals PFAS. The Strategic Agenda completely ignores the interaction between the green transition as proposed in the Green Deal and a competitive, secure and resilient continent. And this is worrying.

The Commission has the opportunity to bring this urgently needed holistic vision back on the table by publishing its Water Resilience Initiative. We can only hope that Member States are willing to throw their weight behind strong action.

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