EC hires consortium to review Drinking Water Directive

17 June 2015

The European Commission has a commissioned a team of external experts, under the management of Ecorys, to evaluate the Drinking Water Directive and to assess its impact. The main objective of the study is to support a possible revision of Europe’s drinking water policy.

Tap water is the fundamental source of drinking water and therefore the public drinking water supply is the cornerstone of public health. To protect human health from adverse effects of any contamination of water intended for human consumption, the EC in 1998 adopted the so-called ‘Drinking Water Directive’ (DWD). The legislation enforces member states to at the minimum monitor and regularly test their water for a total of 48 microbiological, chemical and indicator parameters, with the goal of ensuring water is wholesome and clean.

Drinking water

Yet as with all sectors, the demands of consumers as well as the challenges faced by the industry in 2015 are significantly different from those faced in 1998. Against this background the European Commission has decided to this year review its Drinking Water Directive’ in order to understand potential improvements which could benefit economy, society and the water sector. To conduct the review, the EC has commissioned five external firms – Ecorys, Alterra, KWR, ACTeon and the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC). Ecorys will serve as consortium leader and be responsible for Quality Assurance of all parts of the project.

The objective of the study is to provide support in a possible revision of the EU drinking water policy and the current Drinking Water Directive. In order to achieve the main objective of the study, two main study parts will be executed. The first part of the study covers an ex post evaluation of the Drinking Water Directive and drinking water policy to assess whether the legislation is fit for purpose and achieving its objectives. This ex post evaluation will cover the key performance dimensions of an ex- post public policy evaluation, including: effectiveness, efficiency, EU value added, coherence and relevance.

Ecorys, Alterra, KWR, ACTeon and the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe

The second part of the study consists of an ex-ante impact assessment of future policy options for renewing the Drinking Water Directive. In this assessment a baseline scenario will be developed against which different possible alternative policy scenarios will be assessed in terms of environmental, health, social and economic impacts. The ex-ante impact assessment of different policy options is preceded by a dedicated task (Task 4) scoping and testing Drinking Water Health Risk Assessment.

“The consortium partners have brought together a strong and enthusiastic team. Within the team complementary expertise is present, combining thorough knowledge, on EU water policy and health issues in relation to drinking water, and skills such as evaluation, modeling, stakeholder consultation and impact assessment”, comments the European Commission.