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EurEau newsletter - edition 50 - September 2020

EurEau News

Governance of water services in Europe - EurEau report

Water services are essential services. They support the sustainable development of our societies and are fundamental to realising our green and societal ambitions.

Water services’ organisation differs from country to country due to history, cultural heritage and national or local traditions which result in specific regulatory frameworks.

In order to bring clarity and to simplify the understanding of the governance of water services in Europe, our report provides a snapshot of the current situation in the 29 EurEau member countries and illustrates the diversity of management models, organisational structures, tasks and responsibilities of the players involved at the different levels of governance (EU, national, regional or local).

The report is here.

 

Water Matters – EurEau in your ears

We are also pleased to present the new EurEau podcast ‘Water Matters’, where we talk about the basics of water: where it comes from, where it goes to and what happens in between.

The first available episodes feature Oliver Loebel talking about the fundamentals of water, Dr Claudia Castell-Exner (DVGW, Germany) on drinking water, Michael Bentvelsen (Unie van Waterschappen, the Netherlands) talking about micropollutants, Bertrand Vallet, from the secretariat introducing us to waste water) and Sarah Gillman from Water UK discussing sludge.

Over the coming weeks, they will be joined by Ole Steensberg Øgelund from DANVA, Denmark about waste water and energy, and Gari Villa Landa Sokolova (AEAS, Spain) about the challenges facing us. We will also talk to Veronica Manfredi from the European Commission about water and the EU.

You can find it here. Or on your Apple device or in Google podcasts.

 

EU Matters blog: EP demands action on PiE

Last week the Plenary of the European Parliament recognised the urgent action needed to protect the environment from pharmaceuticals residues. Read more

 

EU news

Drinking Water Directive update: final approval moves closer

The DWD text is still being reviewed. Member States were invited to send comments on both the English and the national language versions by 21 September.

After receiving the COREPER endorsement, possibly on 14 October, the directive will get the final approval by the Council on 23 October and a final vote by the European Parliament in November or December. The entry into force is foreseen by the end of December or early 2021.   

 

UWWTD review: latest

EurEau reacted to the publication of the inception impact assessment.

DG ENV will carry out a targeted stakeholders consultation in October, sharing the policy options with stakeholders so that by the end of the year they can define them and start the work on the impact assessment with the consultants.

At the same time, the Commission is carrying out a study on the various pollutants and the relative possible treatments available.

The 10th report on the implementation of the UWWTD was published by the Commission last week: lack of implementation in some countries and lack of funding are highlighted.

 

Sewage Sludge Directive: evaluation

We submitted our feedback to the directive’s roadmap.

 

Revised Surface Water Watch List: adopted by the Commission

The European Commission adopted the third Watch List under the EQSD.

The substances (insecticides, antibiotics, anti-depressant, fungicides) are in the annex.

 

Water legislation: fitness check

The fitness check is a comprehensive policy evaluation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD), the Environmental Quality Standards Directive (EQSD), the Groundwater Directive (GWD) and the Floods Directive (FD). It assesses whether the directives are fit for purpose by examining their performance against their effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, relevance and EU added value.

The ENVI Committee of the European Parliament is drafting a Motion for Resolution on the Water Legislation fitness check. The amendments were published during the summer and the ENVI Secretariat is working on the Compromise Amendments. We are following the process closely.

 

INSPIRE Directive: review process launched

The original INSPIRE Directive created an online portal to enable geospatial data on the environment to be shared amongst public authorities in Europe. Its review process was launched with the publication of the roadmap. Water operators aim to keep sensitive information on critical infrastructures excluded from the directive’s scope.

Network and Information Systems: response submitted

We answered the Commission’s roadmap on the security of network and information systems (NIS).

 

Critical Infrastructure Programme: feedback submitted

The Commission launched a roadmap on the European Programme for Critical Infrastructure Protection (EPCIP), which may lead to a review of the ECI Directive. We responded to the Commission’s call for feedback.

 

Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive: roadmap

The Commission published a roadmap on the review of the SUPD.

 

Single Use Plastic Directive: implementing documents delayed

The Commission missed the July deadline to adopt an implementing act on product marking and guidances papers on the product definitions and the cost of litter clean up. Member States considered their progress at their September expert meeting. The stakeholder group which EurEau is a part of met on 7 September to consider the marking proposals.  

 

Pharmaceuticals in the Environment: Motion for Resolution in the EP Plenary

The European Parliament adopted the Motion for Resolution on the Pharmaceuticals in the Environment Strategy during its  September Plenary. The ENVI Committee voted on this a few months ago. MEPs recognise the importance of taking the life-cycle approach to pharmaceuticals residues in order to protect the environment. You can read more of the ‘EU matters’ blog here.

 

Regulation on the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR) – Inception Impact Assessment

The Commission has published the Inception Impact Assessment on the revision of the Regulation on the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR) as established through Regulation (EC) No 166/2006.

The deadline for feedback is 26 October.

A public consultation will be held in the coming weeks.

 

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Directives (RED and EED): evaluation process initiated

The review of these directives was launched with the publication of the inception impact assessments (EED, RED). EurEau submitted feedback (RED and EED) based on our briefing note, as both directives can have a significant impact on the long-term investment strategies of water operators.

 

Mercury Regulation

The European Commission issued a report on the feasibility to ban dental amalgam by 2030. The report was a legal obligation under the Mercury Regulation, which will be revised mid-2021 (possibly under the Zero Pollution strategy).

 

EU Strategies

Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability: adaptation imminent

This strategy proposes to reduce the risks associated with producing and using chemicals, simplifying and strengthening EU rules on chemicals. The European Commission should adopt the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability on 14 October.

 

Circular Economy Action Plan: update

This plan aims to make circularity the mainstream in our lives and speed up the green transition of our economy.

The Committee of the Regions held a meeting on this initiative that is still too focused on waste and very little on water. The Parliament is writing an INI-Report (MEP Huitem is the Rapporteur).

 

Climate Change Adaptation Strategy: Motion for Resolution

The Motion for Resolution (MfR) on the Climate Adaptation Strategy is under development in the ENVI Committee of the European Parliament. The deadline for amendments was 16 September.

The WG Groundwater of the CIS is gathering data on the impact of climate change on ground water.

 

Farm2Fork Strategy: Parliament to draft initiative report

EurEau approved its comments on the European Commission’s Farm to Fork Strategy. The strategy focuses on making food systems fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly. Water operators see this strategy as a milestone for the protection of Europe’s water resources through the reduction of chemical pesticide use and nutrient losses as well as a more prudent use of antimicrobials.

The EU Parliament’s Agriculture and Environment committees are jointly drafting an own-initiative report on this strategy which should be approved in plenary in spring 2021.

 

Pharmaceuticals Strategy: public consultation

This strategy aims to improve and accelerate patients’ access to safe and affordable medicines and to support innovation in the EU pharmaceutical industry. We submitted a reply to the public consultation on the Pharmaceuticals Strategy.

 

Zero Pollution Strategy:

The strategy schedule is available. This strategy intends to achieve no pollution from “all sources”, cleaning the air, water and soil by 2050.

The roadmap and the public consultation should be published in the coming weeks and the strategy should be adopted during Q2 of 2021.

 

News Extra

SARS-CoV-2 Monitoring project JRC

The project run by the JRC started a second sampling campaign. 103 WWTPs have participated in this project by taking samples. We expect to have results on the applicability of sewer monitoring at a large scale, the relevance of the results and an estimation of the cost to compare it with other ways of monitoring the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in the population.

 

Innovation

The European Commission launched a €1 billion call for research and innovation projects that respond to the climate crisis and help protect Europe's unique ecosystems and biodiversity on 18 September. The Horizon 2020-funded European Green Deal Call will spur Europe's recovery from the coronavirus crisis by turning green challenges into innovation opportunities. The deadline for submissions is 26 January 2021, with selected projects expected to start in autumn 2021.

More details here.

EurEau submitted its answer to the public consultation on the Horizon Europe First Strategic Plan 2021-2024.

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