To prevent water scarcity in the EU, the European Parliament has approved a regulation on water reuse
The new law sets out for the first time the minimum requirements at European level for the use of reclaimed water (i. e. treated wastewater from urban treatment plants) for agricultural use in a safe way, protecting people and the environment. It was adopted without a vote at the opening of the plenary session.
The new legislation aims to ensure wider use of treated wastewater in order to limit the use of water from water bodies and groundwater. Lower groundwater levels, mainly due to irrigation in agriculture but also in relation to industrial use and urban development, are one of the main threats to the EU's aquatic environment.
"Today marks another important step in the transition to a circular water economy. With this, we are giving concrete results for the protection of the environment, "said the rapporteur, Simona Bonafe (MEP, vice- chair S&D, Italy).
"We could potentially recycle 6.6 billion cubic meters of water a year by 2025, compared to the current 1.1 billion cubic meters. This would require an investment of less than € 700 million and would allow us to use more than half of the current volume of water coming from EU treatment plants theoretically available for irrigation, thus saving more than 5% of direct water production. sites and groundwater, "she added.
The measures adopted shall enter into force on the twentieth day following their publication in the Official Journal of the European Union and shall apply three years after their entry into force.
According to the European Commission's report on the review of European water scarcity and drought policy, water scarcity is becoming an increasing problem for many Member States. At least 11% of the European population and 17% of its territory are affected by water scarcity. In summer, more than half of the population in the Mediterranean region is affected by water scarcity.