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Water reuse moves closer to reality

The Council of the EU met today and adopted its position (the General Approach) on the Water Reuse Regulation. This General Approach will form the basis for negotiations with the European Parliament.

All Member States recognised the good work of the Romanian presidency to find consensus between southern European countries, having experience in the use of water reuse practice and the northern Member States willing to have stricter requirements and the possibility to opt-out from the regulation as it is not considered as necessary for them. The introduction of a revision clause to enforce the requirements in case of scientific evidence that would cause a risk to human health or the environment (Art 13.3) helped to obtain the consensus. Nearly all Member States supported the text except Germany and Slovakia, who abstained.

Speaking about the result from the Council today, Bertrand Vallet from EurEau said “We are very pleased that consensus is reached and we are able to move forward with water reuse in the EU. We support the balanced position of the Council that allows for both the proper distribution of responsibilities and the flexibility for the correct implementation of the regulation in Member States. It is imperative with climate change that agricultural producers have the option to use safe, reclaimed water in irrigation that enables consumer protection, and therefore trust. Vitally, reuse reduces pressure on drinking water resources.”

At the European Parliament level, Simona Bonafè, rapporteur of the Water Reuse file, was re-elected, together with three shadow rapporteurs. The shadow rapporteurs from EPP, Greens, GUE and ECR were not re-elected. We will see the more detailed composition of the EP’s water reuse negotiation team over the summer.

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