EUREAU // Press release // EUREAU welcomes the Blueprint to Safeguard Europe’s Water Resources, published today by the European Commission and fully supports its objective to develop appropriate measures in order to tackle the main challenges in the field of water: health, resource efficiency and security of supply.
The Blueprint to Safeguard Europe’s Water Resources, published today by the European Commission, is the necessary action plan to secure the availability of good-quality water for a sustainable and equitable use. In order to complement and improve the implementation of the 2000 Water Framework Directive, the Blueprint develops a detailed and comprehensive set of measures to overcome the obstacles identified during the 18 months consultation process. The proposed actions go beyond Water policy as such, including voluntary actions (i.e. labeling), regulatory measures (i.e. on metering or reuse) as well as pointing the need for consistency with other EU policies (agriculture and structural & cohesion funds).
“EUREAU fully supports the European Commission in its endeavor to tackle the main challenges in the field of water: health, resource efficiency and security of supply,” says Carl-Emil Larsen, president of EUREAU.
EUREAU members will be instrumental in the enforcement of many measures, including the following proposals:
- Tackling pollution at the source.
The set of measures launched by the Commission to tackle pollution reveals the importance of the problem, and the need to reinforce action: adding the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive to cross-compliance under the CAP; establishing a report on the impact of Pharmaceuticals and environment, and a targeted enforcement of the crucial directives (WFD, EQS/PDS, NID, UWWTD, IED) are now necessary.
- Enforcing (full) cost recovery.
Cost recovery in water pricing is a principle that is anchored in Art. 9 of the WFD. EUREAU is well aware and concerned with price increases (especially inevitable considering the needs in terms of water infrastructures). However, the cost-recovery principle is paramount and is the only way to address long lasting issues. The Commission rightly supports the pricing as an incentive for more efficient water use in all sectors (agriculture, industry and household).
- Legislative proposal on water reuse in 2015?
Water reuse (or recycling) for irrigation or industrial use is considered to have a lower environmental impact than alternative water supplies like long distance water transfers or desalination. Reuse is already practiced in places with big water stress. As some Member states are already thinking about regulating on this issue, EUREAU urges the Commission to launch a legislative proposal guaranteeing common standards backing water reuse development, before 2015.
- Addressing leakage on a case by case basis
Leakage is an important indicator for the quality of water distribution infrastructure. Assessing leakage can therefore lead to benefits in terms of infrastructure improvement and maintaining security of water supply. However, as the situation differs a lot between and within Member states, the Commission acknowledges that the environmental and economic benefits of reducing the leakage levels need to be analyzed at local level. EUREAU supports this approach and will contribute to the development and spread of best practices.