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Drinking water treatment

Groundwater management

Non-revenue water


New EU rules aim to ensure better drinking water and less waste

Europe is getting a set of more uniform requirements for the quality of drinking water. That is certain after the revision of the EU directive aimed at ensuring healthy, clean and reliable drinking water.

The agreement on a revised drinking water directive adopted by the EU’s environment ministers stipulates a limit to concentrations of chemicals emitted from taps and pipes that have contact with drinking water. Water supplies must inform citizens about the quality of drinking water and its costs.

“Everyone should be able to drink clean tap water instead of buying bottled water. Drinking water is, overall, a costly resource and too much is lost today on its way to consumers in the EU. We are now addressing this decision, which will mean less water waste and cleaner drinking water throughout the EU. We have worked hard for the new regulations from the Danish side and it is a victory for both the climate and the environment, which at the same time can create green Danish jobs,” said Danish Minister for the Environment Lea Wermelin in a press release (in Danish).

The Danish key concern in the revision of the directive has been to focus implementing rules to ensure that water supplies reduce water wastage and better inform citizens about water wastage. The main reason for this is to limit the pressure that climate change will have on the European drinking water in the future, according to Danish Ministry of the Environment. The directive is expected to be implemented in 2022.

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Danish companies are at the forefront

The solutions needed to ensure drinking water and limit water loss according to the revised directive can already be found in Denmark. Denmark is for instance already operating with one of the lowest percentages of non-revenue water (NRW) in the world at just 8 per cent. Meanwhile, with policy, technological improvements and behavioural changes regarding water in Denmark, water consumption has gone down almost 40 per cent since 1980.

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“The fact that we now have EU rules for reducing water loss is a great victory for Danish environmental diplomacy. In some EU countries, more than 50 per cent of drinking water is wasted due to leaking pipes, lack of intelligent management and poorly maintained infrastructure. If the other EU countries are on par with Denmark, we will save many millions of cubic metres of water annually, and potentially ensure that far more EU citizens will have better access to clean drinking water by 2030,” said Mads Nipper, CEO Grundfos in the press release.

The revised directive also comes at an apt time as the International Water Association (IWA) World Water Congress in Copenhagen this October will take up the subject of clean water worldwide. Having an ambitious plan for clean water from EU works as a means of inspiration in this regard.



Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark (in Danish)

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Drinking water treatment
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