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EU plans to improve drinking water

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By Catherine Hardy  with AFP
EU plans to improve drinking water

The European Commission has unveiled a proposal to improve access to drinking water across the EU.

The aim is to improve health, reduce emissions and tackle plastic waste.

EU Commissioners Frans Timmermans and Karmenu Vella unveiled the proposal. It forms part of the European pillar of Social Rights and is a direct response to the "Right2Water" citizens initiative, which was signed by 1.6 million people.

The World Health Authority has provided information on water quality. Environment Commissioner Vella says this is an area which rarely requires intervention, as member states implement the regulations properly as a general rule.

It is also a result of the ongoing Better Regulation drive, overseen by Timmermans, which aims to streamline EU legislation and cut red tape.

Timmermans’ quest to reduce bureaucracy is also evident in new rules that allow authorities to focus on treating substances that are known to be in the local area, rather than having to go through a long list of generic substances that are not present.

In numbers

  • 23 million - the number of EU citizens who are not connected to a water system.
  • **1.6 million **- the number of EU citizens who signed the first "European Citizen Initiative" in 2013 which aimed to make access to clean water a "human right"
  • 18 - the number of regulations the Commission wants to introduce to protect water supplies against bacteria and contamination.

Additional sources • Euractiv