New European Drinking Water Directive. Approval by the European Parliament

On Tuesday 15 December 2020, the Parliament approved the agreement with EU countries on the new drinking water directive. The legislative text was adopted at second reading without amendments.

The new rules, which aim to offer high quality tap water across the EU, are a response to the demands of more than 1.8 million Europeans who signed the first successful European Citizens' Initiative, "Right2Water", to support improved access to safe drinking water.

Member States will have to ensure free water supply in public buildings and should encourage restaurants, canteens and catering services to provide water to customers for free or at low cost. EU countries should also take measures to improve access to water for vulnerable groups, such as refugees, nomadic communities, the homeless and minority cultures such as the Roma.

Monitoring and improving the quality of tap water

To enable and encourage people to drink tap water rather than bottled water, water quality will be improved by imposing stricter limits on certain pollutants, including lead.

By early 2022, the Commission will draw up and monitor a list of substances or compounds.

These will include pharmaceuticals, endocrine disrupting compounds and microplastics.

The Commission will also draw up an EU list of substances authorised to come into contact with drinking water.

Next steps

The Directive will enter into force 12 days after its publication in the EU's Official Journal. Within two years of its entry into force, Member States will make the necessary changes to their national legislation to comply with the Directive.

The new directive introduces a number of changes but in particular it defines a framework for the harmonisation of requirements for the assessment of the suitability of materials intended to come into contact with drinking water. This is an issue on which ANIMA has been working intensively for many years together with the associations of the water world, including Aqua Italia.

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New European Drinking Water Directive. Approval by the European Parliament