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Parliamentary questions
14 February 2017
E-009381/2016
Answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the Commission

A forward-looking Climate policy is a priority of the Commission. Climate action is one of the societal challenges addressed, inter alia, through Horizon 2020(1), Copernicus(2), as well as by many other transnational, national and regional initiatives. The EU strategy on adaptation to climate change (2013) sets out a framework and mechanisms for raising the EU’s preparedness for current and future climate impacts, also highlighting the importance of mainstreaming adaptation in EU water policy.

Due to climate change, the availability and quality of water will be one of the main pressures on societies and the environment. The Commission is therefore supporting Member States on how to incorporate climate variability and change in their implementation of EU water policy(3). Besides coordinating the implementation of the Floods Directive(4), which aims to reduce the risk from flooding in the EU, the Commission has developed specific guidance(5) on natural water retention measures, on ecological flows, on reducing leakage levels. As part of the Circular economy agenda, the Commission is also currently developing actions to promote water reuse, thereby reducing the consumption of scarce water resources(6). A future legislative proposal setting minimum quality requirements for reused water was announced in the Commission's work programme for 2017.

Furthermore, the recent Evaluation of the Drinking Water Directive(7) also identified that effects of climate change will intensify existing hazards, and may introduce the necessity to address new hazards. This will be taken into account in the 2017 revision of the Drinking Water Directive with the aim to better protect European citizens, and in future water policy actions.

(1)Horizon 2020 is the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation 2014‐2020, http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020, with the goal is to invest at least 35% of Horizon 2020’s budget in climate-related research
(2)The European Earth Observation Programme Copernicus http://www.copernicus.eu/
(3)See webpage http://ec.europa.eu/environment/water/adaptation/index_en.htm and Guidance document No 24 ‘River Basin Management in a changing climate’ in the context of the WFD Common Implementation Strategy
(4)Directive 2007/60/EC, 23 October 2017, OJ L288, 6.11.2007, p.27
(5)CIS Guidance Documents: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/water/water-framework/facts_figures/guidance_docs_en.htm
(6)Water Reuse website http://ec.europa.eu/environment/water/reuse.htm
(7)Council Directive 98/83/EC of 3 November 1998 on the quality of water intended for human consumption, OJ L 330, 5.12.1998, p. 32‐54 SWD (2016) 428 final http://ec.europa.eu/environment/water/water-drink/pdf/SWD_2016_428_F1.pdf

Last updated: 15 February 2017Legal notice