Sven Giegold

Drinking Water Directive: Europe will benefit from public drinking water dispensers and cleaner water

The first successful European citizens’ initiative “Right2Water” will become European law. Yesterday (Wednesday, 18 December), the representatives of the European Parliament, the Council of Member States and the European Commission agreed on stricter limits for lead and endocrine disruptors such as bisphenol A allowed in drinking water. The agreement also foresees free access to drinking water in public places and stronger consumer rights.

Sven Giegold, shadow rapporteur for the Greens/EFA Group on the revision of the Drinking Water Directive, comments on the success for European democracy:

“This decision is a major step forward for the quality of and public access to drinking water. All across Europe new public drinking water fountains will be installed. Tap water in Europe’s households will become cleaner through stricter limits for endocrine disruptors. Many people will no longer have to buy bottled drinking water, but will be able to switch to tap water. Clean tap water is an important building block for sustainable and resource-saving consumption. Clean drinking water means consumer and environmental protection at the same time. Fewer plastic bottles are needed if drinking water is cleaner and accessible to the public. This success belongs to the European citizens’ initiative “Right2Water”. The drop of bitterness is that the European governments have weakened the Directive in many important points. Despite the dilution by governments a good result remains, which we owe first and foremost to civil society.”

The European Commission had proposed the revision of the “Council Directive on the quality of water intended for human consumption” in response to the European Citizens’ Initiative “Right2Water”. The Drinking Water Directive sets quality standards for European drinking water and obliges EU Member States to carry out regular monitoring and implementation.

Link to our background briefing:

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