Water sector must move towards circular economy, argue EU regulators

Europe’s water sector must embrace greater environmental sustainability, place more emphasis on water reuse and be better at informing and involving citizens, regulators said at their first forum in Rome on Tuesday.

Summoned by European regulators’ body WAREG, water stakeholders met to discuss implementing the EU’s water and wastewater legislation and to identify the main stumbling blocks to full compliance across the bloc. The forum comes ahead of the imminent publication by the European Commission of a ‘fitness check’ report on the 20-year-old Water Framework Directive.

Water utilities are increasingly getting involved in non-water activities ranging from energy production to fertiliser sales. This forces regulators to review their approach to tariffs, and also calls for more technological and organisational innovation. A move towards a risk-based approach would be extremely beneficial for water utilities and consumers alike, according to WAREG’s president, Andrea Guerrini. This should apply to both the recast of the drinking water directive and the water reuse regulation, he said. 

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