The European Union is finally updating its Drinking Water Directive, which was initially drafted in the 1980s. Today, the Socialists and Democrats in the European Union have backed a legislative proposal to include the demands of the European Citizens Initiative petition, which called for a Right to Water, as part of this Directive renewal.
The petition was signed by 1.8 million people from all 28 member states, and the S&D Group wants the Commission to take meaningful, practical action to widen access to clean, safe drinking water for vulnerable and marginalised groups.
The S&D spokesperson on this issue, Rory Palmer MEP, said:
“Our main aim is to protect public health and the safety of our drinking water. That’s why we ensured that the report would introduce stringent parametric values and monitoring of potentially harmful substances: On endocrine disruptors my Group pushed, as we have done for a number of years, for stronger protections by bringing these three substances into the formal parametric values, rather than the rapporteur's informal 'watch list'.
“On PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl, some toxic chemicals) we have also been clear that stronger action is needed, and we have succeeded in strengthening the control of micro plastics in our drinking water. Our drinking water must come from reservoir to tap in the most environmentally sustainable way possible.
“We strongly regret that the S&Ds call on member states to guarantee the universal access to water for all in the Union by introducing concrete obligations on member states did not gather sufficient support across the Parliament. Citizens have made their voice loud and clear through the European Citizens' Initiative, calling for action to have a guaranteed access to safe drinking water. And we believe that it is the responsibility of the member states to ensure that.”
S&D spokesperson on environment and health, Miriam Dalli MEP, said:
“We also ask the Commission to introduce specific targets to reduce leakage rates. Every leakage is not just a waste of water but also a higher bill for our citizens.
“We want everyone to have access to water. We are living in 2018 and still some people in the EU do not have access to clean drinking water. Homeless and people living in slums around big cities in Europe are amongst the most vulnerable in this regard. We also have people living in camps in dire situation whose access to water remains a luxury rather than a commodity. Our Europe should provide the basic necessities to all."