European drinking water producers argue at the European Commission for better protection of surface water

14 juli 2016

European drinking water producers argue at the European Commission for better protection of surface water

The protection of surface water sources is of vital importance for the supply of clean and safe drinking water for our generation and for future generations. Drinking water companies aim at offering this, but require robust EU legislation to protect natural resources and to ensure that the Water Framework Directive is actually implemented. EurEau, the voice of Europe's drinking water and waste water service operators, is advocating this with the European Commission in a recently established joint position. According to EurEau, preference must be given to the preventive protection of sources instead of end-of-pipe solutions such as adding additional purification steps. 

Importance of protecting surface water
Surface water is an important part of the water cycle. It is an open environment with many different applications and threats.
On average, 40% of the European drinking water comes from surface water sources, but this can differ greatly (between 0 to 100%) inside and between the member states.
It is essential that consumers are given access to clean drinking water. And drinking water suppliers need adequate and reliable sources to offer this. EurEau advocates using the precaution principle when protecting drinking water sources by keeping harmful and persistent anthropogenic substances outside surface water. Drinking water sources can also be protected by preventing emissions at the source and classifying emissions, with ranking based on possible harmful effects.  EurEau is of the opinion that no contamination of surface water can be allowed either by diffuse sources or industrial emissions if they would put the use of drinking water at risk. EurEau wants that the European Commission adjusts the authorisation and registration of chemicals within this context in the interest of the protection of the drinking water sources with the addition of criteria related to drinking water. EurEau wants that the European Commission sets up monitoring schedules because these substances that cause contamination enter the water system. EurEau also advocates that spatial developments be adjusted and recommends measures be taken to prevent contamination with these substances at the source so that surface water for drinking water sources can remain protected from this.

EurEau
EurEau is the European Federation of national umbrella organisations of drinking water producers and water purification companies with members from 27 European countries. EurEau has three committees that stand up in their own area of expertise for the joint interests and elaborate the position of the Board. The committees are EU1 Drinking Water, EU2 Waste Water and EU3 Legal and Economic Affairs. The committees prepare positions that can be taken up in Brussels on behalf of EurEau and offer the opportunity to national umbrella organisations to share knowledge and positions about the execution of existing and new directives, frameworks and strategies.

To the position of EurEau about the protection of surface water resources (in English)

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