In the last 40 years EU water policies have helped deliver sufficient quantities of clean water to Europe’s citizens. Thanks to billions of Euros of investment and the efforts of millions of people working together, industrial emissions have been reduced, waste water is collected and cleaned, and risks from flooding are diminished. EU citizens can swim in most of lakes and the sea and drink water from the tap virtually everywhere. Still, much remains to be done.
The 5th EU Water Conference will discuss the latest state and trends in the quality of Europe’s water and look at the main pressures on water quality and quantity, such as agriculture, man-made changes to rivers and pollution from industry or households. It will also address how to prevent floods or at least limit their impacts.
The conference will be an opportunity to learn about good experiences in improving water quality and restoring the ecological functions of rivers, innovative technical solutions and effective policies at national or local level. It will discuss River Basin Management Plans prepared by EU Member States for the period 2015-2021 and feed into the European Commission’s evaluation of water legislation. The conference will also be an occasion to network with around 400 peers and stakeholders from the water community across Europe.
Elisabeth Köstinger, Austrian Minister of Sustainability and Tourism, will open the event. Michel Dantin, Member of the European Parliament, will also partake at the conference.
The European Commission and Austria, which holds the current presidency of the Council of the EU, are organizing the 5th European Water Conference. The conference comes at a key moment in the development of European water policy.
The European Environment Agency has recently published a comprehensive report on the state of Europe’s water. It shows that water quality is improving, albeit slowly. Apart from dealing with current water quality problems, water policy should also deal with future problems such as the impacts of climate change and the increasing amounts of micropollutants in our water.
The Commission is also finalising its assessment of the River Basin Management Plans and the Flood Risk Management Plans for the period 2015 and 2021.
Finally, the complete EU water legislation is being evaluated: the Commission has just started the Fitness Check of the Water Framework Directive and the Floods Directive and an evaluation of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive. The online public consultation for this evaluation can be accessed here.
For more information: European Environment Agency’s State of Water Report Statement on the EEA Report by Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries