On Tuesday, the European Parliament (“EP”) adopted the review of the directive on the quality of drinking water. Last February, following the successful citizen initiative “Right2Water”, the Executive had proposed several steps to increase overall tap water consumption, improve access to drinking water as well as enhancing the quality of such water.
The EP put forward easier access to information on the quality and provision of drinking water, incentives for member states to install public drinking fountains, and supporting the availability of tap water in restaurants. New criteria enabling the availability of potable water were also put forward, such provisions having not been altered since 1998.
The legislation adopted reduces the maximum doses of some pollutants such as lead, polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) and hazardous bacteria, and implements the monitoring of microplastic levels, a growing concern.
Hilde Vautmans (an MEP for ADLE – the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe herself an alderwomen for the Open Vld – Flemish Liberals and Democrats), stressed, “It now comes back to member states to find the adequate mix of measures encouraging free access to potable water.” She went on, “The European institutions must assist the cities, towns and villages as regards financial and technical issues.”
The report was adopted by 300 votes in favour, 98 against and 274 abstentions. The EP will enter into negotiations with member states once minsters in the respective EU countries have taken their positions on the issue.