The European Parliament is working on a proposal to amend Directive 2000/60/EC establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy, Directive 2006/118/EC on the protection of groundwater against pollution and deterioration, and Directive 2008/105/EC on environmental quality standards in the field of water policy[COM(2022) 540 final]. The following are highlights of the current status of the proposal.
On February 8, 2023. The Section for Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) presented an opinion strongly supporting the EC’s proposal to add a number of key pollutants to the lists of priority substances for surface and groundwater. These compilations will be used to assess the chemical status of the resource in accordance with the Water Framework Directive. Member states will have to monitor the presence of these contaminants in the water and ensure that quality standards are not exceeded. The proposal has been expected for several years and represents a welcome attempt to update the basis for assessing water chemical status.
The EESC points out that clean water is essential for our society and environment, as well as for socio-economic activities. A solid water conservation foundation that focuses on reducing pollution at the source will benefit ecosystems, water recreation users and industry, and provide clean and affordable drinking water. The EESC also calls on the European institutions to start making water a priority and develop a European Blue Deal. This will reflect efforts to anticipate needs, protect water resources and try to meet challenges with a comprehensive and coordinated plan. It should include ambitious goals and activities related to agreed milestones. In 2023. The EESC will present concrete proposals for a European Blue Deal.
On February 20, 2023. The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety has submitted amendments to the draft act in question. In the report presented, he proposes an additional revision of the Water Framework Directive along with two specific directives – one on groundwater and the other on environmental quality standards. He wants to improve EU water regulations with the overarching goal of protecting human health and ecosystems in mind. In addition, due to the rapidly changing situation of chemicals that appear in the environment and that can be a significant threat to human health and aquatic organisms, the types of substances to be on the watch lists should not be limited. The deadline for amendments to the submitted draft report was March 29, 2023.
On March 7, 2023. The Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development has submitted a draft opinion asking the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety to consider amendments to the proposal. The proposal to revise three pieces of legislation was welcomed. It aims to unify elements of water legislation. According to the Commission, the list of pollutants that affect surface and groundwater needs to be updated. Another important issue raised is dealing with drought, and thus ensuring good groundwater quantity. Particular attention should be paid to water drawing practices, as abstraction for agriculture has become a major pressure. Member states must ensure the efficient and sustainable use of water, and agricultural use must not be excluded from the control of fresh surface and groundwater abstraction. The deadline for submitting amendments to the submitted draft opinion is April 14, 2023.
The current status of the proposal to amend Directive 2000/60/EC, Directive 2006/118/EC and Directive 2008/105/EC can be followed in the European Union’s legislative database.