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EurEau newsletter - edition 17 - October 2017

EurEau news
Data survey
We updated our study reflecting the true picture of drinking and waste water services in Europe.

Higher connection rates, more pipes, more network, more investment, better recycling and better environmental protection are the key headlines.

We invest €45 billion annually, in over 7 million kilometres of pipes to deliver and treat 45 billion m³ of water. Our members provide safe, clean and healthy water to consumers while returning treated water to the environment

EurEau annual congress
Our annual congress will take place in Bilbao on 18-20 October.

Our plenary conference is on the theme of ‘The implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in Europe: the role of the water services in delivering sustainable cities’. Keynote speakers are Peter Koefoed Bjørnsen, Director UNEP-DHI partnership; Martha Moran-Abat from the European Commission and José Maria Villanueva del Casal, Technical Director at the CABB. We will publish our report on how the European water sector contributes to delivering a sustainable future for all before the end of the year.

EU news
Commission adopts criteria for endocrine disrupting chemicals for biocides
The European Commission formally adopted criteria for chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system. These criteria are due to be included in the EU Biocides Regulation and are the same as those adopted in early July that may apply to the EU Pesticides Regulation.

However, the European Parliament’s Environment committee approved an objection to these criteria on 28 September. This objection will be voted in plenary on Wednesday 4 October. More

Microplastics: Commission supports extended producer responsibility 
EurEau spoke on behalf of the water sector at the 13 September workshop on the role of WWTP in reducing microplastic emissions to the environment. The European Commission’s DG ENV stated that extended producer responsibility should apply and source control has priority. However, measures at other levels might also be effective. The workshop presentations are here and the interim report is here. This workstream will feed into the EU’s Plastics Strategy to be published at the end of 2017.

Pharmaceuticals in the environment
It is not clear when the public consultation on Pharmaceuticals in the Environment (PiE) will be launched; it might be out at the end of October or published at the beginning of 2018. The consultation will run for 12 weeks. The Commission should then develop the long-awaited strategic approach to PiE, which should be in the form of a Commission Communication.  

Security of water infrastructure
On 25 September, EurEau met again with the European Commission’s DG Home to discuss greater coordination between all European activities regarding the protection of water infrastructure. This includes ERNCIP research work, CEN standardisation activities and, potentially, NATO activities on resilience. DG Home may hold a meeting on 6 March 2018 to bring together the relevant stakeholders on the security of water infrastructure.

Urban Water Agenda 2030
The Conference ‘Mayors and Water’ took place in Porto on 29 September and Carla from the EurEau Secretariat attended. Read more about it on the EU matters blog!

Carla from the EurEau Secretariat attended the Expert Group meeting on equitable access to water and sanitation of the Water and Health Protocol of the UNECE/WHO. Read the EU matters blog to know more about the Protocol and the meeting!

WAREG analysis on water efficiency KPIs  
The European Water Regulators published a report on water efficiency KPIs on WAREG member countries. The report is available here

CAP reform: more environmental credentials?
While the European Commission will not table an official proposal on the CAP reform until 2018, it is planning to publish a communication before the end of 2017 explaining how it plans to revise the Common Agricultural Policy. EurEau will analyse the proposals and prepare a response, if necessary.

Water and agriculture 
The European Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan, held a speech on water and agriculture at the European Policy Centre on 28 September. He proposed two new tools that should support farmers to contribute to the protection of the environment:

  • The development of a knowledge hub on water and agriculture with the JRC
  • The cooperation of various European Commission DGs to set up a platform for on-farm nutrient management

Glyphosate: towards a ten-year renewal?
By the beginning of November 2017, Europe will decide whether to renew the license for glyphosate. The European Commission proposed a 10-year renewal. However, many Member States have yet to adopt their official position on this matter. France reaffirmed on 25 September its opposition to the Commission plans, considering the ten years as “far too long”. The Standing Committee on Plant Animal Food and Feed will meet on 5-6 October. France might promote a five-year phase out period, while Germany might abstain, Italy is highly reluctant and Sweden remains opposed.

It is therefore unclear whether the Commission will succeed in achieving a qualified majority of countries supporting the proposal.

Consultation on the Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Programme
The Commission launched a consultation on Circular Economy tools and policies, including the EU Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) Programme. It is open until 10 November. You can see it here.

Low-carbon energy
The European Commission is preparing an update of its low-carbon economy roadmap for 2050, acknowledging that the EU’s current target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions at least 80% by mid-century is insufficient.

Less than a year after it tabled a landmark package of clean energy laws, officials are now busy preparing the next document that will shape the bloc’s energy and climate policies for years to come.

Several energy industry sources confirmed that the EU executive is preparing to launch a public consultation with a view to updating its low-carbon economy

Water reuse
The European Commission finalised the impact assessment of the proposal for an EU instrument on water reuse and will submit it to the Regular Scrutiny Board of the Commission on 25 October 2017. If the boards’ response is positive, the Commission intends to adopt the legal proposal by the end of this year.

Water JPI advisory board meeting
Bertrand from the EurEau Secretariat attended the Water Joint Programming Initiative advisory board meeting in Paris on 20 September. The discussions focused on supporting research infrastructure and preparing the exploratory workshop for identifying new research needs, as well as updating the strategic research and innovation agenda of the Water JPI.

The meeting was an opportunity to learn more about the Danbius project, which aims to develop the first European research infrastructure on water-sea system (from mountain to sea). It will regroup different experimental sites focusing on studying phenomenon happening in a river-sea system. More

The next workshop will be held on 2-3 November on ‘Improving Ecosystem Sustainability and Human Well-being’. The Water JPI will also launch a call in 2018 for research projects on the theme: ‘Closing the Water Cycle Gap: Improving Sustainable Water Resources Management’.

Fertiliser Regulation
After the vote on the amendments to the Fertiliser Regulation in the European Parliament’s Internal Market Committee (IMCO) on 13 July, the plenary vote due for mid-September was cancelled, as the rapporteur left the European Parliament. The EPP group is looking for a replacement to present the file in plenary and the vote should be scheduled for the end of October.

Read more here (article from EurActiv features EurEau Secretariat’s, Bertrand Vallet).

TAIEX-EIR Peer 2 Peer
The new TAIEX-EIR Peer 2 Peer tool was launched on 7 September. It aims to provide tailored support to Member State authorities dealing with the implementation of environmental policy and legislation. Staff members from these authorities (at national, regional and local level) can be directly trained by their more experienced peers in other Member States. The Peer 2 Peer tool should help to spread good practice in environmental implementation and governance across Member States.

The TAIEX-EIR P2P tool complements existing peer tools such as the upcoming peer-to-peer support process to facilitate improved Water Framework Directive and Floods Directive implementation.

Requests can be submitted online.  All information, TAIEX-EIR P2P leaflets in 23 languages, a functional contact mailbox and the links for online-applications and expert registration are available at http://ec.europa.eu/environment/eir/p2p/index_en.htm .

EurEau member news
Pharmaceutical residues in Germany
The German Association of Energy and Water Industries - BDEW, investigated the development of medicinal drug usage in Germany. The study concludes that as a result of demographic change and an increasing per capita drug intake, medicinal drug usage will increase up to 70% by the year 2045.

BDEW espouses the need for a holistic strategic approach for pharmaceutical residues in order to protect the aquatic environment.

For more, contact Christina Christopoulou (Tel.: +32 2 774 5119 or E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and Andrea Danowski (Tel .: +4930 300199-1210 or E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

You can see a list of events happening around Europe here. The following are a selection. If you have events happening in your country, let us know, especially if you would like to get the EurEau perspective by having us represented at it!
Important dates
8-11 October: Water Festival (Bari, IT).
9-10 October:  Water Reuse Europe will hold its first annual conference and exhibition in Bruges.
26 October: CEBEDEAU in Liege, Belgium.
23-24 November: Persistent and Mobile Organic Chemicals in the Water Cycle: Linking science, technology and regulation to protect drinking water quality, in Leipzig, Germany.

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