Environment: Commission presents Blueprint to safeguard Europe’s waters
The Commission has launched a Blueprint to Safeguard Europe’s Water Resources, a strategy for ensuring that enough good quality water is available to meet the future needs of people, the economy and the environment.
To achieve the already existing Water Framework Directive objective of good water status by 2015, the Water Blueprint sets out a three-tier strategic approach:
- Improving implementation of current EU water policy by making full use of the opportunities provided by the current laws. For example, increasing the take-up of natural water retention measures such as the restoration of wetlands and floodplains or improving implementation of the “polluter pays” principle through metering, water-pricing and better economic analysis.
- Increasing the integration of water policy objectives into other relevant policy areas such as agriculture, fisheries, renewable energy, transport and the Cohesion and Structural Funds.
- Filling the gaps of the current framework, particularly in relation to the tools needed to increase water efficiency. In this regard, the Water Blueprint envisages water accounts and water efficiency targets to be set by Member States and the development of EU standards for water re-use.
The Blueprint does not put forward a “one size fit all” strait jacket but rather proposes a tool box that Member States can use to improve water management at national, regional and river basin levels.
Supported by the Innovation Partnership on Water, the Water Blueprint is presented as a way of ensuring that the EU water industry develops fully its growth potential and that all the economic sectors that depend on availability of water of a certain quality can prosper thereby creating growth and job opportunities.
The implementation of the proposals outlined in the Blueprint will rely on the Common Implementation Strategy of the Water Framework Directive. The timeframe for the Blueprint is closely related to the EU’s 2020 Strategy and, in particular, to the 2011 Resource Efficiency Roadmap, of which the Blueprint is the water milestone. However, the analysis underpinning the Blueprint covers a longer time span, up to 2050.