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EurEau newsletter - edition 55 - February 2021

EurEau News

Speaking out

Carla Chiaretti from the EurEau Secretariat was a panellist at the World Water-Tech Innovation Summit on 23 February, participating in the session on Beyond Low Hanging Fruit: Developing a Strategic Roadmap to Achieve Carbon Neutrality.

EurEau Secretary General Oliver Loebel was speaking at the second meeting of the European Parliament Intergroup Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development meeting dedicated to ‘EPR as an instrument to tackle microplastic pollution’ on 24 February. You can read more about this in ‘microplastics’, below.

EurEau President, Claudia Castell-Exner, gave the keynote address at BLUE PLANET Berlin Water Dialogues. You can find Claudia’s speech and presentation on innovation here (25 February).


EU news

Legislative developments

Water legislation

Sewage Sludge Directive: public consultation

The SSD seeks to encourage the use of sludge coming from sewage in agriculture and to regulate its use in such a way as to prevent harmful effects on soil, vegetation, animals and man.

EurEau answered the targeted stakeholder’s survey (deadline: 28 February). You can find our answer here. The public consultation on the SSD is open, with responses due by 5 March 2021.


Bathing Water Directive - European Environment Agency (EEA) report

The share of bathing sites with excellent water quality in Europe has increased from 53% in 1991 to 85% in 2019, thanks to local actions guided by binding European legislation. A new European Environment Agency (EEA) report shows how improving bathing water quality can serve as a model for successful environmental legislation and management.

The Commission has still to publish the inception impact assessment on the revision of the BWD.

Water and the environment


European Parliament Intergroup meeting on EPR and Microplastics

We organised a meeting of the European Parliament Intergroup Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development that we sponsor, together with the EPR Club and ACR+ on 24 February. The theme was ‘EPR as an instrument to tackle microplastic pollution’.

EurEau Secretary General, Oliver Loebel, spoke on EPR and presented the Deloitte/EurEau study.

Svenskt Vatten published a report on microplastics (in Swedish). DG ENV confirmed the intention to put microplastics in the DWD Watch List when an analytical method has been developed and made available.


Energy directives: EurEau submits input to public consultations

EurEau responded to the public consultations on the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) and the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED).

Both directives set framework conditions for the reduction of fossil energy use that affect also the way water operators move towards zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Our reactions are here and here.


Zero Pollution Action Plan

One of the flagship initiatives of the EU Green Deal, the ZPAP intends to tackle pollution from “all sources”, cleaning the air, water and soil by 2050.

EurEau submitted an answer to the public consultation on the Zero Pollution Action Plan.

The Commission intends to set up a Platform at EU level.


Motion for a Resolution on the New Circular Economy Action Plan

The NCEAP is to make circularity the mainstream in our lives and speed up the green transition of our economy.

The Motion for Resolution in the European Parliament was adopted on 10 February. The report recalls that the Control at Source and Polluter Pays Principles must apply to protect water resources. It also highlights the recent adoption of the Water Reuse Regulation and the Drinking Water Directive. Finally, it highlights the various resources that can be recovered from waste water. However, it missed the opportunity to ask for clear End of Waste status for these resources.


Habitats Directive - new infringement case against Germany

The European Commission referred Germany to the European Court of Justice over failure to properly implement the Habitats Directive. The Commission believes that Germany is still failing to designate a significant number of sites as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). One point is very important: the Commission makes reference to the European Green Deal as a motive for its claim, even if the Green Deal is not a legal act in itself.

Water as an essential service


Resilience of critical entities directive: EU Parliament appoints rapporteur

The RCE directive will set requirements for critical entities, including water operators to increase their resilience against man-made and natural disasters.

The Commission adopted this draft proposal and it is now with the EP and the Council.

The European Parliament LIBE committee (Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs) appointed the liberal MEP Michal ŠIMEČKA (SLO) as rapporteur.


NIS-2 Directive: EU Parliament appoints rapporteur

The directive concerning measures for a high common level of security of network and information systems (NIS) across the Union will complement the RCE (Resilience of Critical Entities) Directive and will set comprehensive requirements for critical entities, including water operators, to increase their resilience against cyber threats.

The Commission adopted this draft proposal and it is now with the EP and the Council.

The European Parliament ITRE committee (Industry, Research, Energy) appointed the Dutch liberal MEP Bart Groothuis as rapporteur.


EU Strategies

Commission publishes the Climate Adaptation Strategy

The EU Climate Adaptation Strategy has been adopted (24 February): water protection is a priority.  You can read more in Carla’s blog piece.

We are pleased that the Commission is raising its efforts on climate change and included several elements that we had proposed during the autumn.

The plans include information on the climate related risk of drinking water, protection of water resources, RBA for drinking water supply, the cross-border effect, water allocation, water saving, eco-design, CSOs and NBS. 


Farm2Fork Strategy: Parliament struggling to form opinion

The EU Parliament’s Environment and Agriculture committees (ENVI, AGRI) are co-drafting a report on the F2F Strategy. More than 2000 amendments have been proposed, showing a wide discrepancy between supporter and opponents (you can see the amendments here: 1, 2, 3, 4).

The committee vote is provisionally scheduled for early May and the plenary vote is expected for June 2021. With this report, MEPs try to influence any of the related 37 pieces of legislation that the Commission will propose over the coming years.

Interestingly, the majority of MEPs voted against the inclusion of the F2F goals in the mandate to negotiate the CAP reform with Member States.

The European Environmental Agency (EEA) published a report ‘Water and agriculture; towards sustainable solutions’ calling on policy makers to base agricultural management practices on agro-ecological principles, organic farming and nature-based solutions.

The EurEau position on the F2F Strategy is here.


EU Strategy for Textiles: EurEau publishes comments on Roadmap

This new strategy aims to help the textile industry to become climate-neutral and circular with textiles are designed to be more durable, reusable, repairable, recyclable and energy-efficient. It will also address micro-fibre release from synthetic garments and chemicals used for the production of textiles.

In its feedback, EurEau insists on precautionary and control-at-source measures to minimise the release of synthetic fibres and hazardous chemicals. 

The roadmap is here and the EurEau feedback is here.


EU Soil Strategy: EurEau proposes amendments to EU Parliament resolution

In parallel to the public consultation on the future EU soil strategy, the European Parliament’s ENVI committee is working on a motion for a resolution on soil protection.

EurEau welcomes this initiative but calls on Members of the European Parliament to better consider the water-soil nexus.

The Commission roadmap is here and our reaction is here


Other news

Svenskt Vatten report – Waste water Treatment Pains

Waste water Treatment Pains - Pharmaceuticals in our water environment, is a report from Svenskt Vatten. Waste water treatment plants make huge efforts to phase out toxic and harmful substances to prevent them ending up in the environment.

This report focuses on the problems of pharmaceutical residues in Swedish waters and in waste water systems. The water and waste water organisations are experiencing a growing problem that must be dealt with. The questions cry out for answers; the techniques are available – but progress is too slow. Better legislation and funding issues are largely unresolved.


Communications news


25 March 2021 - International Network of Basin Organizations webinars organised in partnership with the French Office for Biodiversity. There are two webinars. Register here.


29-31 March 2021 - Global workshop on building climate-resilience through improving water management and sanitation at national and transboundary levels by the UNECE-WHO Regional Office for Europe Protocol on Water and Health and the Water Convention serviced by UNECE. More. Registration by 24 March.


23 April 2021 – Carla Chiaretti from the EurEau Secretariat will join the session ‘The Future of the Water Sector’ at the Environment Ireland Conference. More information: www.environmentireland.ie.


17-20 May 2021 – LuWQ2021, 5th International Interdisciplinary Conference on Land use and water quality: Agriculture and the Environment. More.


31 May–2 June 2021 - (postponed from 15-16 June 2020) European Sustainable Phosphorus Conference (ESPC4) and PERM, Vienna, Austria. More


23-24 September 2021 - Bulgarian Water Association’s 10th jubilee conference on Water Loss Reduction. The BWA is calling for interested parties to present an applied-scientific report, attend or be an advertiser.  More: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or www.bwa-bg.com.


Postponed to June 2022 - from August 2021 - Water Safety Conference in Narvik, Norway. More.


2022 – CEOCOR; hosted by ÖVGW in Vienna, Austria. (postponed from 2021).


11-15 September 2022 - IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition; Water for smart liveable cities in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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