Environment: Commission asks citizens about Europe's drinking water

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The European Commission has today launched a public consultation on EU drinking water policy, to see where improvements could be made. The consultation is a concrete response to Right2Water, the first successful European Citizens' Initiative.

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "The supply of safe, good quality drinking water across the EU is a major achievement of EU legislation. But we have to look to the challenges ahead, and address the concerns raised in this European Citizens' Initiative. That means continuing the citizen-driven dialogue, and listening to the expectations of consumers and other stakeholders for EU drinking water legislation in the future."

Vice-President and Commissioner for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration Maroš Šefčovič, who was responsible for creating the framework for European Citizens' Initiatives, said: "The conclusion of this first successful ECI, when the Commission set out how it intended to respond, was in fact just the start of the process. Now we are starting to deliver on our promises. This is further evidence of the real impact an ECI can have on European decision-making."

The consultation should provide us with a better understanding of citizens’ and stakeholders' views on the need for and possible range of actions that could be undertaken to improve the supply of high quality drinking water. The questions cover areas such as the current level of drinking water quality, the main threats to drinking water, the information needs of citizens, and possible additional actions that could be taken at EU level.

The consultation, which is available here, is open until 15 September 2014. The results will feed into a process of reflection on whether improvements might be needed to the EU Drinking Water Directive.

In addition to the consultation, the Commission will also soon launch a structured stakeholder dialogue looking at transparency in the water sector. This is another follow-up action from the European Citizens' Initiative. More information will be made available through http://ec.europa.eu/citizens-initiative/public/initiatives/finalised/answered.

Background

The objective of the Drinking Water Directive is to protect human health from the adverse effects of any contamination of water intended for human consumption, by ensuring that drinking water is wholesome and clean. The quality of drinking water in the EU is generally good, and the level of implementation of the Directive is overall very high. Member States have to take measures to ensure that these objectives are met, and these measures must not allow any deterioration of the quality of drinking water.

Link to the Public Consultation

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/consultations/water_drink_en.htm

For more information

More details on the level of implementation and the areas which require attention, such as the quality of drinking water in areas where supplies are low, are outlined in the Commission Synthesis Report on the Quality of Drinking Water in the EU examining the Member States' reports for the period 2008-2010:

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