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European water quality set for EU upgrade

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European water quality set for EU upgrade


(BRUSSELS) - The EU Council adopted its position Tuesday on a proposal to revise the drinking water directive, a result of the first-ever successful European citizens' initiative, launched to ensure that water remains a public service and a public good.

The proposed new rules update the quality standards that drinking water must meet and introduce a cost-effective risk-based approach to monitoring water quality. They also contain new provisions on materials in contact with drinking water and on improving access to water.

One of the main elements of the recast proposal is to update the water quality standards currently in force, which were determined over 20 years ago.

The proposal also introduces a 'risk-based approach' to the monitoring of water quality. It is hoped this approach will in the long run decrease the costs of monitoring while at the same time guaranteeing the highest quality of drinking water.

The proposed revised directive introduces new obligations to improve access to water.

Member states will also have to ensure that consumers can access information on the properties of their drinking water as well as other useful information.

The Council is also proposing a new procedure to set hygienic requirements for materials in contact with water intended for human consumption. The aim is to improve the quality of such materials to ensure that human health is protected and no contamination takes place.

The European Parliament proposed amendments to the Commission proposal at its plenary on 23 October 2018. Its position at first reading is foreseen for the second plenary in March. Inter-institutional negotiations are likely to take place during the Finnish Presidency.

General approach

Commission proposal

Right to water

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