- Drinking Water Directive
High quality, safe and sufficient drinking water is essential for our daily life, for drinking and food preparation. We also use it for many other purposes, such as washing, cleaning, hygiene or watering our plants. The European Union has a history of over 30 years of drinking water policy. This policy ensures that water intended for human consumption can be consumed safely on a life-long basis, and this represents a high level of health protection. The main pillars of the policy are to:
- Ensure that drinking water quality is controlled through standards based on the latest scientific evidence.
- Secure an efficient and effective monitoring, assessment and enforcement of drinking water quality.
The Directive overview
The Drinking Water Directive concerns the quality of water intended for human consumption. Its objective is to protect human health from adverse effects of any contamination of water intended for human consumption by ensuring that it is wholesome and clean.
The Directive laid down the essential quality standards at EU level. A total of 48 microbiological, chemical and indicator parameters must be monitored and tested regularly. In general, World Health Organization's guidelines for drinking water and the opinion of the Commission's Scientific Advisory Committee are used as the scientific basis for the quality standards in the drinking water.
When translating the Drinking Water Directive into their own national legislation, Member States of the European Union can include additional requirements e.g. regulate additional substances that are relevant within their territory or set higher standards. Member States are not allowed, nevertheless, to set lower standards as the level of protection of human health should be the same within the whole European Union.