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NEWSLETTER | Autumn 2023

In our Autumn 2023 newsletter, you will find our Manifesto for the 2024 EU Elections, our CIRCULAR WAYS Seminar Recap: "Promoting circular approaches in wastewater treatment", our Annual General Meeting Recap: we welcome our new Vice President during the 2023 AGM, our Water Erasmus Technical Workshop on PFAS, our contribution on human rights and access to water in Europe in a roundtable discussion organised by the Portuguese Water Resources Association (APRH), and more...

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APE publishes its Manifesto for the 2024 EU Elections: 5 priorities to achieve a fair, effective and sustainable management of water resources in Europe

EU water legislation already provides a robust framework for managing and protecting water resources. EU water policies have also represented a reference model for many countries worldwide. However, some regulatory gaps and inconsistencies remain. APE puts forward five key recommendations for future EU policymakers to ensure that water resources are managed in a fair, effective and sustainable way. These include:

  1. Strengthening our resilience towards water scarcity through a common action framework
  2. Developing a new financing model for the water sector to reconcile affordability and financial sustainability
  3. Completing the regulatory framework needed to achieve circularity
  4. Closing the water-energy-pollution nexus
  5. Promoting capacity development in the water sector through global not-for-profit partnerships

Read our manifesto


APE Seminar “CIRCULAR WAYS: Promoting circular approaches in wastewater treatment”| Report and presentations available

Adopting circular approaches to wastewater treatment offers real opportunities to achieve societal objectives on waste minimisation, sustainable agriculture and energy generation, and holds clear environmental and geo-political benefits. However, the transition to circularity requires a complex combination of an appropriate regulatory framework, new technologies, and effective coordination between different sectors and stakeholders.

On 29 June 2023, APE organised, in partnership with Viveracqua and Acque Veronesi, the public seminar "CIRCULAR WAYS: Promoting circular approaches in wastewater treatment" in Verona, Italy, to explore the conditions for accelerating the shift towards a circular approach through insightful contributions from water operators, policymakers and stakeholders. More than 120 people attended in person or online the seminar.

Read the full event report


APE holds its 2023 Annual General Meeting and welcomes Roberto Mantovanelli as new Vice President

On occasion of its Annual Meeting held in Verona on 29 June, Roberto Mantovanelli, President of Acque Veronesi (Verona’s water operator) and Member of Viveracqua's board, was appointed as Aqua Publica Europea’s new Vice President. Roberto Mantovanelli succeeds Alessandro Di Martino, President of AMAP (Palermo’s water operator), who played a crucial role in steering the association, together with President Bernard Van Nuffel, during challenging times of Covid pandemics and Ukraine’s invasion.

APE organises an in-person Water Erasmus Technical Workshop on PFAS and participates in ECHA’s consultation on a proposed PFAS restriction

On 30 June 2023, APE organised a Technical Workshop on PFAS for members to learn more about the problems associated with PFAS pollution and to exchange on the approaches and solutions available to remedy it with presentations from Viveracqua (consortium of water utilities from Veneto’s region, Italy) and AquaFlanders (the Flemish association of public water utilities).

The workshop was followed by a technical visit of the Lonigo Treatment Plant (Province of Vicenza), where a specific treatment process for PFAS has been implemented as a response to a severe contamination case 10 years ago.

In September, APE shared data on the presence of PFAS in drinking water resources in Europe with ECHA in the framework of a consultation on a proposal to restrict around 10,000 PFAS.

Read the report of the workshop & speakers' presentations (for members only)

APE raises concerns over the European Parliament’s report on the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive

APE expressed reservations on the European Parliament’s report on the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (UWWTD). While welcoming commitments to enhance water quality, reduce pollution, and improve efficiency, we raised concerns about diluting the polluter-pays principle, technical challenges, and water affordability.

We particularly regretted the allocation of up to 20% of national financing to complement the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme to cover the upgrade of urban wastewater treatment plants to treat micropollutants, which could impact water tariffs. On the other hand, we welcomed new provisions on energy neutrality that would allow operators to produce green energy off site and, if certain conditions are met, to purchase renewable energy from external sources through power purchase agreements up to a maximum of 40%.

Read our reaction to the ENVI Committee's draft report

Read our reaction to the European Parliament's report

APE participates in APRH’s roundtable “Water: What Futures?”

On 27 September 2023, APE shared its views on human rights and access to water in Europe in a roundtable discussion on the topic “Water: What Futures?” organised by the Portuguese Water Resources Association (APRH) in Porto. The event provided an opportunity to discuss how to move towards a more integrated approach to water resources as well as strategies and innovation needs for the future.

In our presentation, we addressed pressing issues, including water poverty's impact on EU residents, and gave an overview of the growing investment needs in the water sector driven by new legislation, climate change, and evolving water utility expectations. We finally identified three ways to increase water affordability: focusing on holistic social protection measures, innovative financing, and a better enforcement of the polluter-pays principle.

Read more


Acquedotto Pugliese's water service enhancement project

Acquedotto Pugliese (public water operator of Puglia’s region, Italy) secures a EUR 270 million 'Green Loan' from the EIB for a comprehensive 2023-2027 investment plan in Puglia and Campania: this is the first ‘Green Loan’ granted by the EIB to a water operator in Italy. Aimed at efficiency and resilience, the investment program is articulated in 100 different projects addressing water management, environmental compliance, and infrastructure modernization. This collaborative effort with the EIB exemplifies effective public collaboration, accelerating investments for sustainable water resource management for future generations.

You can find the full article here.

Société Wallonne des Eaux offers 'easyCONSO' for enhanced water efficiency

In the context of growing emphasis on sustainable water resource management, Société Wallonne des Eaux (SWDE) (Public water operator of Wallonia’s region, Belgium) has been developing 'easyCONSO': an innovative service to help tackle leakages by continuously monitoring water consumption within buildings.

You can find the full article here.

Eau de Paris is taking proactive measures against plastic pollution

On occasion of the European Sustainable Development Week, Eau de Paris (Paris’ drinking water operator) has joined “Dopper Wave”: an initiative that aims to end the use of single-use plastic bottles. It includes practical actions like discontinuing disposable plastic water bottles, promoting tap water consumption, and encouraging reusable bottles.

You can find the full article here.


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