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EurEau newsletter - October 2021

EurEau News

EurEau Statement on COP26

World leaders meet in Glasgow this week to decide how to tackle climate change.

We need actions, not words.

You can read our statement here.

 

EurEau’s podcast ‘Water Matters’ season2

Water Matters podcast is back for a second season!

Listen to why the Green Deal Matters for the water sector with Denis Bonvillain, co-chairperson of our committee on economics and legal affairs here

 

Speaking Out

Claudia Castell-Exner, EurEau President, spoke at the 3rd Stakeholder workshop (5 October) on the sustainable use of pesticides, (held by the European Commission) focussing on why the Polluter Pays Principle should finally become a policy reality.

Claudia also spoke at the Economy of a Water City hybrid event on 25 October. Claudia intervened on the challenges facing our cities today, highlighting that raising the value of our water services offers an opportunity to meet increasing demands and climate change. Oliver Loebel, EurEau Secretary General, spoke at the same event about the need to take a full life cycle approach when talking about micropollutants, with the Precautionary Principle and source control as starting points, with other measures at other levels based on cost-benefit analysis.

Michael Bentvelsen, co-chairperson of our committee on waste water presented EurEau's views on pollutants of emerging concern, energy and the Circular Economy linked to the revision of the UWWTD at the European Commission’s stakeholder workshop (26 October).

 

EU news

Legislative developments

Commission Work Programme 2022

The CWP2022 is published and available here.

 

Water legislation

EP adopts resolution to protect workers from asbestos

The European Parliament has adopted a resolution on protecting workers from asbestos, recognising there may be a risk. The recommendations are non-binding, but include a reference to the Precautionary Principle and additional monitoring of water at national level. It is possible that recovery funds can be used to address the problem of asbestos in pipes. The Commission will propose measures to protect workers.

 

UWWTD revision: stakeholder meeting

The European Commission held a stakeholder meeting on the next steps of the UWWTD on 26 October. They expect a proposal to come in “mid-2022”.

Policy options on waste water pollution were outlined in three areas of improvement addressing: i) remaining urban waste water pollution like individual or other appropriate systems (IAS), small agglomerations, sensitive areas, storm water overflows and industrial pollution in public networks;  ii) emerging concerns like micropollutants, circular economy, energy efficiency, GHG emissions and virus surveillance systems; and iii) governance, featuring, inter alia, extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes, investment planning, transparency and the right to sanitation for vulnerable people.

Michael Bentvelsen, co-chairperson of our committee on waste water, intervened for EurEau, discussing pollutants of emerging concern, energy and the Circular Economy. He stressed the importance of controlling pollution at source.

The UWWTD concerns the collection, treatment and discharge of urban waste water and the treatment and discharge of waste water from certain industrial sectors.

 

Water and agriculture

Directive on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides (SUD): revision advances

The SUD revision is now expected for early 2022 according to the European Commission’s latest. The evaluation and the impact assessment are being carried out back to back. The revision is set to improve Article 11 on the protection of drinking water resources and be linked to the 50% reduction in pesticide use in the Farm 2 Fork Strategy (F2F). It will also contain calls for better transparency on the information of pest-control products.

The European Commission is evaluating the SUD in order to revise it according to the Farm-to-Fork Strategy objectives. The SUD aims to protect human health and the environment from the possible risks and impacts of pesticides. This initiative reviews options for further reducing pesticide use to help meet the goals of the Farm to Fork Strategy and the Green Deal.

Claudia Castell-Exner, EurEau President, spoke at the 3rd stakeholder meeting on the SUD (5 October) about the need to properly implement the Polluter Pays Principle. 

 

Farm-to-Fork Strategy: Parliament adopts ambitious report

Despite significant pressure, the European Parliament’s plenary meeting adopted an ambitious own-initiative report on the Commission’s Farm to Fork Strategy. While it is non-binding, it offers broad support for stringent Commission proposals towards achieving coherence between this strategy and the Green Deal objectives, including climate, biodiversity, zero pollution and health. MEPs also call for strengthening the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive and support binding reduction targets for the use of pesticide and antibiotics and for nutrient losses.

Read our reaction to the EP vote here.

 

Water and the environment

EQSD and GWD revision: your chance to input

Over the summer, the European Commission launched two consultations, as part of the review and possible revision of the EQSD and GWD.

You can find our submission to the public consultation here

 

Protecting the marine environment: public consultation response submitted

We submitted our contribution to the survey 'Review of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive'.

The aim of the European Union's directive is to more effectively protect the marine environment across Europe.

 

SUP Directive: EurEau submits paper on wet wipes in sewers

The Single Use Plastics Directive aims to reduce the release of certain plastic items into (marine) environment. The agreed text does not specify whether waste water infrastructure is included in the EPR scheme to cover the costs for the collection, transport and treatment of certain products including wet wipes (Article 8.3(b)). 

The Commission is drafting a guidance paper on the calculation of the above costs.

 

Biodegradable plastics: EurEau comments on the Commission roadmap

The Commission intends to draft a (non-legislative) communication to define and label biobased, biodegradable and compostable plastics. In its response to the Commission roadmap, EurEau supports the initiative but called for compulsory “do not flush” labels to avoid problems in the sewer infrastructure.

 

PFAS: new reports and EurEau next steps

One report and one article were just published highlighting PFAS.

The Danish environmental protection agency set PFAS limit values for sewage sludge (in Danish)

The USA EPA report on the PFAS Strategic roadmap is here.

The EP Intergroup will meet on PFAS on 29 November. You can register here.

 

Pharmaceutical legislation revision: public consultation open

The public consultation on the pharmaceutical legislation is open, with a deadline of 21 December.

In the European Parliament, the ENVI committee own-initiate report was adopted, including the 27 Compromise Amendments on the environmental aspects of pharmaceuticals.

It will be on the Plenary agenda of the session starting 22 November.

 

Industrial Emissions Directive: process advances

The IED is not covered in the recently released Commission Work Programme 2022 as it is included in the 2021 work programme. The proposal is expected now in early 2022.

Industrial waste water discharges into sewers are regulated by the UWWTD and the IED, which are under revision. The aims of the revision are to progress towards the EU’s zero pollution ambition for a toxic-free environment and to support climate, energy and circular economy policies. This includes the revision of the E-PRTR Regulation too.

 

Revision of CLP Regulation: public consultation

A public consultation on the revision of the Classification, Labelling and Packaging of substances and mixtures (CLP Regulation) was launched by the Commission. The Regulation’s purpose is to ensure a high level of health and environmental protection, as well as the free movement of substances and mixtures.

Feedback must be submitted by 15 November. We expect the Commission’s proposal in Q2 2022.

 

Water as an essential service

Critical Entities Resilience Directive: Parliament Committee adopts report

The European Parliament’s LIBE committee adopted its report on the Critical Entities Resilience Directive (CERD). Parliament wants to strengthen consistency with the NIS2 directive and facilitate the access of critical entities, in particular SMEs, to support measures. The use of recognised standards and specifications is supported.

This report will be used for negotiations with the Council (Member States) to agree the final directive.

 

Other news

Commission missions under Horizon Europe

The Commission adopted a communication which officially launched the 5 Missions under Horizon Europe.

The missions are a new instrument of EU R&I policy to address complex societal problems setting concrete targets within a specified timeline (2030). They cover the following areas, closely linked to environment and water:

  • Fighting cancer
  • Adaptation to climate change
  • Protect and restore the ocean, seas and waters (The Implementation Plan of this mission can be found here.)
  • Making our cities climate-neutral and smart
  • Ensuring healthy soil and food.

Their goal is to promote knowledge and encourage participation in projects under Horizon Europe, but also engage people as part of cooperation and citizen science.

Beyond R&I projects, they include policy measures and legislative initiatives. The missions will directly support EU priorities, such as the European Green Deal. Beyond government actions at all geographical levels (incl. associated countries), the missions will involve other relevant actors, such as the private sector, academia and other citizens and stakeholders

You can find more here.

Klara Ramm, the EurEau General Assembly representative for Poland and chairperson for the JWG on the Value of Water Services is a member of the Restore our Ocean and Water mission.

 

Commission report on current practices in flood management

The European Commission published a report on ‘Current Practice in Flood Risk Management’.

Overall, the study has identified and presented 34 current practice cases from 15 Member States across aspects of flood risk management that could be shared, adapted and adopted more widely across the EU.

 

EEA Report on Trends and Projections in Europe 2021

The EEA report on Trends and Projections in Europe is available here.

 

UNESCO report on valuing water

UNESCO released a report entitled ‘Valuing Water’. It goes beyond water services but it contains a number of interesting messages.

 

Microplastics: New OECD report on emissions from tyres and textiles

The OECD has published a detailed report on the quantification, pathways and mitigation measures of microplastics unintentionally released from tyres and textiles. It calls for a full supply chain approach starting from upstream measures and supports the concept of EPR.

 

Project work: Co-UDlabs

Co-UDlabs is a European research infrastructure focused on urban drainage which was launched earlier this year. We are part of the advisory board. If you are interested in  receiving targeted information on training, transnational access, the research programme, outcomes, invitations to events and more, please fill-in this contact form!

 

News from our members

Report:  21 Century Rivers - 10 actions for change

Water UK has published a report on 21 Century Rivers - 10 actions for change.

 

Events

23-26 November 2021 – ENEG 2021 will be on the theme of Difficulties in Water Management and Climate Emergency:  Looking for the Necessary Changes; Tivoli Marina Vilamoura | Centro de Congressos do Algarve, Portugal

https://www.eneg2021.apda.pt/.

25 November 2021 - BLUE PLANET Berlin Water Dialogues

29 November 2021 - EP Intergroup event on "PFAS: Challenges and solutions".

26-27 January 2022 - Smart Water Utilities conference and exhibition. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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

22-24 June 2022 - Water Safety Conference in Narvik, Norway. More.

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

12-15 September 2022 - LuWQ2022, 5th International Interdisciplinary Conference on LAND USE AND WATER QUALITY: Agriculture and the Environment; Maastricht, The Netherlands.

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