Stakeholder Consultatations on EU Water Policy
Sep 29th, 2016 |
The water discussions in Brussels geared up again on Wednesday September 28th with two back to back sessions, the MEP Water Group Public Session ‘Water and Jobs” in the European Parliament, followed by a stakeholder consultation led by the Committee of the Regions “Effective water management systems: an approach to innovative solutions”.
The MEP Intergroup meeting drove home the point that 3 in 4 jobs are water dependent and, in a world where water is continuously identified as one of the greatest risks, these jobs are dependent on the availability and quality of water resources. Socio-economic development in much of the world is contingent on the availability of good quality water while the opportunity to create new, high quality jobs is immense with technology, training, investment, education will go a long way. Investment in water supply therefore, is a particularly high return on investment. In the case of Europe, Flanders was a clear example of the importance of clearly understanding one’s water related risks. In a region which produced 25% of EU’s frozen vegetables, protecting water quality and quantity is directly linked to the economic integrity of the region.
The Committee of the Regions (COR) presented in the preparation for their own initiative report on effective water management systems contributing to the European Commission’s forthcoming proposal on minimum standards for reused water for irrigation and aquifer recharge purposes, the upcoming review of the Water Framework Directive and possible review of the Drinking Water Directive. Stakeholders asked the COR to emphasize the importance of climate change mitigation, to consider water and energy links more closely and to advocate for better alignment between different water regulation, policies and standards. Furthermore, several stakeholders commented on the importance of developing a systems-based approach in which existing frameworks are resilient to long-term change.