European Parliament rapporteur visits Dutch drinking water industry

Back 23 mei 2018

European Parliament rapporteur visits Dutch drinking water industry

​Michel Dantin of France, the European Parliament’s Drinking Water rapporteur, today visited the Dutch drinking water industry. He was a guest at a production site of the Dunea drinking water company at Scheveningen near The Hague. He was able to see at first hand how the Dutch drinking water industry produces top-quality drinking water. The reason for his visit was the revision of the European Drinking Water Directive, which contains rules for the quality of drinking water in Europe. Dantin was received by Hans de Groene (Managing Director of Vewin, the national association of water companies in the Netherlands), Arjen Frentz (Deputy Managing Director of Vewin and chairman of the Drinking Water Committee of the European umbrella organisation EurEau) and Wim Drossaert (Managing Director of Dunea).
The European Drinking Water Directive is an important instrument for assuring safe drinking water throughout the EU. The object is to protect human health against contaminated drinking water. The directive dating from 1998 is currently under revision. In February 2018 the European Commission presented a proposal for amending the directive. Michel Dantin (European People’s Party) has an important role in the revision of the directive. He is the European Parliament’s rapporteur on the Drinking Water Directive and is formulating a response to the Commission’s proposal on behalf of the parliament. After voting the European Parliament’s position, Dantin will be the parliament’s chief negotiator in reaching agreement on the text of the directive. Vewin invited Dantin to discuss the Commission’s proposal and to examine what impact the proposal will have on the drinking water industry in the Netherlands and across Europe.

Dutch knowledge of water

After holding talks with De Groene, Frentz and Drossaert, Dantin visited the Dunea production site in the dunes at Scheveningen just outside The Hague. At this site Dunea produces drinking water for 1.3 million consumers by infiltrating into the dunes pre-treated water from the Meuse river and post-treating it to create high-quality drinking water. The challenges for the years ahead were among the subjects discussed. Dantin thus obtained a good picture of the knowledge and skill present in the Netherlands for turning surface water into drinking water.
‘The Netherlands has a long-lasting reputation for the quality of its drinking water and the efficiency of its water services, which I had the opportunity to experience today at the site of Dunea.’ said MEP Michel Dantin. ‘In this reform, water suppliers will have to play a key role in implementing the risk-based approach at all steps of the production and distribution of drinking water. This will help improving the management of the water resource upstream in the chain and to reduce the treatment of water in fine.’

Minimum requirements for drinking water materials

Hans de Groene, Vewin’s Managing Director said: ‘Mr Dantin’s visit was very useful. It presented an excellent opportunity to show the European parliamentarian how the Dutch drinking water industry observes the Drinking Water Directive in practice and the impact that the European Commission’s proposal would have.’ According to Vewin, the proposal contains good elements such as alignment to existing European rules for improving the quality of groundwater and surface water under the Water Framework Directive. Speaking for the Dutch drinking water industry and the European umbrella organisation EurEau, however, Vewin also called for a number of changes. ‘The current proposal lacks for example a good arrangement for materials and chemicals that come into contact with drinking water. We would like to see minimum requirements EU-wide for the quality that materials such as pipes and cranes must satisfy. This is important for hygiene and for public health. We appreciate very much that this issue is also recognized in the response of the European Parliament to the Commissions’s proposal.’, said Mr De Groene.

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