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European Council approves water reuse for agricultural irrigation deal

  • European Council approves water reuse for agricultural irrigation deal

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European Council
The General Secretariat of the Council is a body of staff responsible for assisting the European Council and the Council of the EU. It helps organise and ensure the coherence of the Council's work and the implementation of its 18-month...

The EU is taking new measures to reduce the risk of shortages of water for irrigating crops. The EU ambassadors of the member states today endorsed the provisional agreement which had been found with the European Parliament on a regulation which will facilitate the use of treated urban waste water for agricultural irrigation. This endorsement clears the way for final adoption.

The rules will help Europe adapt to the consequences of climate change. The regulation, which is fully in line with the circular economy, will improve the availability of water and encourage its efficient use. Ensuring that enough water is available for the irrigation of fields, in particular during heatwaves and severe droughts, can help prevent crop shortfall and food shortages.

Given that the geographic and climatic conditions vary greatly across member states, a member state may decide that it is not appropriate to use reclaimed water for agricultural irrigation in part or all of its territory.

Member states may also decide to use reclaimed water for other uses such as industrial water reuse and for amenity-related and environmental purposes.

The regulation contains strict requirements for the quality of reclaimed water and its monitoring to ensure that human and animal health as well as the environment are protected.

Savings of water resources as a result of water reuse will be the subject of general awareness raising campaigns in member states where reclaimed water is used for agricultural irrigation.

The Commission is required to assess the need to review the minimum requirements of the reclaimed water, based on the results of an evaluation of the implementation of this regulation or whenever new technical and scientific knowledge so requires.

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