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The Directive 2022/0344: A significant leap in the protection of water resources

  • The Directive 20220344: significant leap in the protection of water resources
    Arno River (Italy)

About the entity

Water is essential for life, yet human activities often contribute to its pollution. In response to this growing threat, the Directive 2022/0344 proposal amends the European Union's Water Framework Directive, introducing new standards for water protection.

EurEau, the European Federation of national water service associations representing national drinking water and wastewater service providers from 30 countries, has published a position paper on this matter, which we proceed to analyze in this article.

1 . The Directive 2022/0344: A new era in water protection

Directive 2022/0344, in an effort to improve water quality and protect the environment, proposes adding pesticides, pharmaceutical products, and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to the priority substance lists for surface and groundwater. Furthermore, it seeks to establish more flexible procedures for updating Environmental Quality Standards (EQS).

2 . The stance of EurEau

EurEau has welcomed the expansion of the EQS lists, seeing it as an essential requirement for providing safe and affordable drinking water services. They see these measures as an effective means of protecting the environment. Representing drinking water and wastewater service providers from 29 countries in Europe, EurEau's stance on this matter is highly relevant.

3 . The challenge of pesticides, pharmaceutical products, and PFAS

According to EurEau, the proposal to include pesticides, pharmaceutical products, and PFAS in the priority substance lists represents a significant step towards safeguarding our water resources. These substances can be harmful to human health and aquatic life, and their inclusion will help reduce their presence in the water.

4 . Flexible updates of the EQS: A step in the right direction

The procedures for updating the EQS have become more flexible with the new directive. This change will allow for quicker adaptation to scientific and technological advances, enabling better protection of water quality.

5 . Source reduction

EurEau has supported these improvements and advocates for the adoption of source reduction measures to prevent chemical water pollution. With a basic measure to ensure the continuous supply of clean water, EurEau emphasizes the importance of preventing pollution in the first place.

6 . Urgent action in the reduction of PFAS

The directive underscores the urgency of reducing PFAS, with the goal of a complete ban by 2025. Given the wide range of health problems that PFAS can cause in humans, their elimination is a priority.

7 . Conclusion

Directive 2022/0344, which amends the Water Framework Directive and expands the EQS list, is a significant advancement in the protection of our water resources. EurEau's positive response underscores the importance of these changes and highlights the need for action to prevent water pollution.

8 . Q&As

What is Directive 2022/0344?

Directive 2022/0344 is a modification of the Water Framework Directive that introduces new substances to the priority substance lists and establishes more flexible procedures for updating the EQS.

Why are pesticides, pharmaceutical products, and PFAS included in the priority substance lists?

These substances can have harmful effects on human health and aquatic life. Their inclusion in the priority substance lists will help reduce their presence in water.

What are EQS and why are they important?

Environmental Quality Standards (EQS) are the maximum allowed limits for certain substances in water. They are essential for maintaining water quality and protecting human health and aquatic life.

What are PFAS and why is their reduction urgent?

PFAS are a group of chemical substances that have been shown to cause a range of health problems in humans. The reduction of PFAS is urgent to protect public health.

How does EurEau view the proposed changes in the Directive?

EurEau welcomes the expansion of the EQS lists and advocates for source reduction measures to prevent water pollution.

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