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EurEau newsletter - edition 15 - July 2017

EU News
Water and Agriculture – an overview
The operational and rural development programmes for 2014-2020 were reviewed to measure their contribution towards EU water policy (Water Framework Directive & Floods Directive). The findings are available online:
Study on the evaluation of the contribution of Operational Programmes to the implementation of EU water policy
Report: Key descriptive statistics on the consideration of water issues in the Rural Development Programmes 2014-2020
Good practice guidance.

Urban Water Agenda 2030
Carla from the EurEau Secretariat attended the meeting on the Urban Water Agenda 2030 organised by EUROCITIES and ICLEI on 28 June. You can find the draft strategy here and the public consultation (deadline 5 July) on the strategy here. If you wish to read more on this topic, read the ‘EU matters’ blog post!

Antimicrobial Resistance
The European Commission adopted A European One Health Action Plan against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).
The Commission envisages taking the following measures:
- supporting research into knowledge gaps on the release of resistant microorganisms and antimicrobials into the environment and their spread
- exploring risk assessment methodologies, with the support of scientific agencies and bodies, and use them to evaluate the risks to human and animal health from the presence of antimicrobials in the environment 
- supporting research into and the development of new tools for monitoring antimicrobials and microorganisms resistant to antimicrobials in the environment
- support the development of technologies that enable efficient and rapid degradation of antimicrobials in waste water and the environment and reduce the spread of AMR. 

Water Reuse
On 12 June, the European Commission published the SCHEER and EFSA reports on the JRC report on the minimum quality requirements for water reuse in agricultural irrigation and ground water recharge. They also published a revised version of the JRC report.

According to our experts, this version is a step backwards for reuse in agriculture, with requirements that are less economically viable without scientific justification for health protection. Pier Paolo Abis attended the Ad-hoc Task Group on water reuse held on 23 June in Brussels to defend the EurEau position.
Fertiliser Regulation
Opinion reports from the European Parliaments AGRI and ENVI committees are positive for water services.

MEPs asked for more traceability on recovered nutrients to allow good quality products to be promoted. They also validated the possibility for the European Commission to amend the annexes and therefore left the door open to add new products, especially struvite and ash-based products. Finally, by requiring a certification for production plants that can demonstrate separate production lines for CE marked and non-CE marked fertilisers, they ensured that national practices, especially production of compost and digestate from sewage sludge, can be maintained. However, the question of the revision of the Nitrate Directive is still on the table to allow recovered products from livestock manure to be accepted more easily, which might create an issue for the protection of groundwater. EurEau is still working to avoid bad side effects of the proposed measure.

MEPs have backed an even faster phase-down of cadmium in fertilisers; MEPs on the environment committee narrowly rejected an amendment against a cadmium phase-down schedule proposed by the European Commission last March.

Instead, MEPs voted to support the Commission’s limits, which would cap cadmium in phosphate fertilisers to 60mg/kg once the draft regulation comes into force, followed by 40mg/kg after three years and 20mg/kg after 12 years. 

If this passed in the parliament’s plenary, farmers will need an alternative source of fertilisers more than ever – good news for recovered nutrients from sewage sludge.

The next step is the vote of the opinion report in IMCO committee on 13 July and the vote of the report in plenary in September.

EP Intergroup on ‘Biodiversity, climate change and sustainable development’ on SDG6
On Tuesday 20 June the EP Intergroup working group ‘agriculture and water management’, chaired by MEP Dantin discussed how Europe is contributing to the implementation of the SDG6 in third countries.

From EurEau, Gari Villa-Landa Sokolova presented the cooperation between AEAS and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) to achieve SDG 6 in Latin America. All presentations are available here.

France pushes for EU pesticide bans
EU ministers could soon debate a French proposal to restrict the use of pesticides by public bodies and consumers after the initiative was backed by France’s newly-appointed government.

Under French law, public bodies have been banned from using pesticides in forests, green spaces, roads and streets since January. The prohibition will extend to sales to consumers by January 2019.

Other countries such as Sweden are working towards a national consumer ban on pesticides, targeting the controversial herbicide glyphosate. By contrast, the European Commission announced last month plans to authorise the chemical for another 10 years.

Microplastics: EurEau steps up efforts
The issue of microplastics will be addressed in the European Commission’s plastics strategy expected for the end of 2017. EurEau actively contributes to the Commission-sponsored studies on microplastics added to products and microplastics unintentionally released during normal wear and tear.

Greet De Gueldre, co-Chair of the EurEau Committee on Waste Water, will attend a stakeholder meeting on 6 July 2017 and the secretariat is providing input to an expert meeting planned for September on the role of waste water treatment plants in reducing microplastic release into the environment.

EurEau Secretary General Oliver Loebel addressed the issue of microplastics at the meeting of the EPA Net on the plastics strategy on 8 June. Our Joint Working Group ‘Micropollutants’ is finalising a letter to DG Environment on this topic.

The Commission has launched a stakeholder consultation on microplastics. EurEau will coordinate its position through the JWG pollutants and submit comments before the 16 October deadline.

The European Commission (DG GROW) is conducting an evaluation to assess the extent to which the objectives of the Detergents Regulation have been achieved in terms of effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, coherence and EU-added value.

Regarding the impact of this regulation on water services, we can generally say that it reduced the load of phosphorus to waste water treatment plants, allowing a reduction of cost for operators and the possibility to have more sustainable solutions implemented (biological phosphorus removal).

The replacement products (often nitrates) may lower this positive impact as it also has an impact on operation cost. However, it is generally seen as a good ‘control at source’ measure that has contributed to improving water quality in rivers and lakes. EurEau is in contact with the consultant to deliver this message.

European Parliament assesses the 7th Environment Action Programme 2014-2020
At the request of the European Parliament’s ENVI Committee, the European Parliamentary Research Service (DG EPRS) has launched a targeted stakeholder survey on the implementation of the 7th Environment Action Programme 2014-2020 (7th EAP). EurEau will complete the questionnaire 26 July.

Cost Reduction Directive study - Survey to (waste) water network operators
The European Commission is looking for feedback from water network operators to participate in a study on the implementation and monitoring of the Cost Reduction Directive. The questionnaire is available here.

INBO survey on the protection of water catchment areas in Europe
INBO is looking for the best practices implemented in the EU regarding drinking water catchment protection and fight against diffuse pollution in these areas.

This portal intends to stimulate a better networking between stakeholders involved in this activity, centralise best practices, and disseminate resources (data, documentation…) with the objective to create an efficient community of European actors.

The best practices will be presented during the Europe-INBO 2017 International Conference in Dublin from 20-23 September 2017.

The online questionnaire is here.

Online petition on water pollution
BDEW and DVGW together with other partners launched an online petition calling on the German Federal Government and the European Commission to tighten the existing fertiliser legislation. You can sign up here (in German).

EurEau news
New EurEau Executive Committee
Our new executive committee took up its duties on July 1. You can see the new make up here.

WssTP: EurEau elected on the board of administration
The WssTP General Assembly of 14 June 2017 elected Jens Prisum (Biofos, DK) as EurEau representative on the Board of Administration. Our Secretary General, Oliver Loebel, continues to represent EurEau on the WssTP General Assembly.

SDG platform
EurEau applied to be a member of the stakeholders’ platform on sustainable development goals that will be established by the European Commission.

Meeting members
Oliver Loebel attended the Aquawal General Assembly on 9 June and Bertrand Vallet gave a presentation at the Belgaqua General Assembly of 29 June.

Carla Chiaretti introduced EurEau to Irish Water staff in Dublin on 14 June.  

New EurEau representative in the Water JPI
Osmo Seppälä, Managing Director of the Finnish member association FIWA replaces Roberto Zocchi as EurEau representative at the Stakeholder Advisory Group of the Water Joint Programming Initiative. Thank you Osmo.

EurEau Communications and Media News
Water Matters!
Water Matters is published, giving an insight into the challenges and issues facing Europe’s water sector. You can get copies from Caroline, from your GA representative or your communications team. It is also online.

Arjen Frentz wrote a blog article for EurActiv on glyphosate. We also had Anders Finnson talking about water quality and the WFD, Michael Bentveltsen on micropollutants and Kari Elizabeth Fagernaesm on innovation.

We also appeared in Water News Europe on investments in infrastructure and in Europa Decentraal on the challenges facing the water sector.

Member News
Hello and goodbye
Carl-Emil Larsen will replace Jens Prisim on the EurEau General Assembly for Denmark. Thanks to Jens for all his work!

Important dates
27 August–1 September: Bruno Tisserand will speak at World Water Week in Stockholm.
9-10 October:  Water Reuse Europe will hold its first annual conference and exhibition in Bruges.

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