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Drinking water in the EU: better quality and access

02-03-2020 - 13:46
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The co-legislators agreed on the update of the more than 20-year old and the introduction of new rules to further improve the quality of and access to drinking water for everyone increasing therefore consumer confidence in tap drinking water. The revision of the rules follows-up, inter alia, on the successful citizens’ initiative Right2Water, which gathered more than 1.8 million signatures.

The EU Drinking Water Directive (DWD) updates quality standards for water intended for human consumption and introduces minimum hygiene requirements for materials in contact with drinking water (e.g. pipes, taps). On 18 February 2020, the ENVI Committee approved a provisional agreement reached between Parliament and the Council on 18 December 2019 . A watch-list mechanism will allow the monitoring of substances or compounds of public or scientific concern to health, such as endocrine disruptors, pharmaceuticals and microplastics. In addition, EU Members shall improve access to clean water for everyone in the EU, by setting up water fountains in public spaces or by encouraging tap water free or for a low fee in restaurants. Greater transparency to water quality information will be also provided. From an environmental perspective, access to better quality water can reduce bottled water consumption by 17%.