KWR Kees Roest by KWR Kees Roest
25 June 2018

Water reuse: Commission proposes measures to make it easier and safer for agricultural irrigation

Today, one third of the EU territory suffers from water stress all year round. Water scarcity is a concern for many EU Member States and according to climate change projections, the problem will increase across Europe in the next decades. Water shortages or contamination can have serious social and economic costs and this may affect competitiveness and the Internal Market. Therefore, as part of an integrated water management approach that includes water savings and water efficiency measures as first priority measures, treated waste water from urban waste water treatment plants provides a reliable alternative water supply for various purposes such as agricultural irrigation. Furthermore, it extends the water life cycle, thereby helping to preserve water resources and in full compliance with the circular economy objectives....

European Commission - PRESS RELEASES - Press release

Commissioner Vella, responsible for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: “This proposal will create only winners – our farmers will have access to a sustainable supply for irrigation water, our consumers will know the products they eat are safe, and our businesses will see new opportunities. The biggest winner of them all will be our environment as the proposal contributes to better management of our most precious resource – water.” What is the Commission proposing? Minimum requirements for the reuse of treated waste water from urban waste water treatment plants, covering microbiological elements (for example, levels of E. coli bacteria) and monitoring requirements for routine and validation monitoring. Setting minimum requirements will guarantee that reclaimed water produced in accordance with the new rules will be safe for irrigation. Risk management wherebyany additional hazards must be addressed for water reuse to be safe. Increased transparency. The public will have access to information online about water reuse practice in their Member States. Water reuse in the EU today is far below its potential despite the fact that the environmental impact and the energy required to extract and transport freshwater is much higher. Moreover, a third of the EU’s land suffers from water stress all year round...

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