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European Parliament’s vote on the Drinking Water Directive : a move in the right direction

Drinking WaterThe European Association of Public Water Operators welcomes the European Parliament’s position on the legislation as a step forward to guarantee safe drinking water for all in Europe. 

On 23 October, the European Parliament voted during its plenary in Strasbourg to adopt its position on the Drinking Water Directive. This vote is a step forward to guarantee safe drinking water for all. It also fosters debate and high momentum for water. Public water operators believe that the EU should take this opportunity to advance this crucial text before the end of the parliamentary term and concretise its efforts. 

Aqua Publica Europea and its members have supported, from the initial stages of the legislative process, the building of a strong Directive that effectively guarantees safe drinking water throughout Europe. We therefore welcome last week’s vote as Members of the European Parliament have grasped the challenges at stake by deciding to move forward on this file. 

Aqua Publica Europea has favoured a balanced, pragmatic and science-based approach for determining parametric requirements for water quality. The European Parliament has agreed with this view and we welcome the adoption of parameters in line with WHO recommendations which secure high protection of health whilst avoiding the creation of disproportionate costs. 

Public water operators are committed to the realisation of the right to water. The revision of the Drinking Water Directive gave the opportunity to take into account the voice of the 1.8 million European citizens who signed the Right2Water Initiative. We believe that the adopted amendments represent progress towards increasing access to water although more could have been done. 

Last week’s vote brought water to the forefront of discussions. Because water is a common good essential for life, its governance is not just be a technical matter. The intense debates preceding the vote demonstrated that regulating water – its management and access to it – is of high political sensitivity. It requires strong political commitment and participation of all stakeholders. Through their lively discussions, the Members of the European Parliament acknowledged this and their votes contribute to building a better EU that fosters citizens’ participation and advances rights.

In the aftermath of this vote, complex challenges remain for all actors involved but it is necessary to mobilise and face them to succeed in ensuring access to quality water for all. Now is the time to take action: Aqua Publica Europea urges the Council of the European Union to put forward its position to launch negotiations with the Parliament in time to reach an agreement before the next European elections in May, and avoid wasting great progress.  Water, after all, is life. 

Aqua Publica Europea | +32 2.518 86.55 | @APE_EU

Aqua Publica Europea is the European Association of Public Water Operators. It unites publicly owned water and sanitation operators serving over seventy million people and working to promote public water management at both European and international levels. Aqua Publica is an operator-led association that looks for efficient solutions that serve the public rather than corporate interests.