Safeguarding European Water Resources (Communication)

In its Communication, the European Commission evaluates EU policy for safeguarding water resources, identifies deficiencies and proposes possibilities for improvement. In particular, it calls for the metering of water consumption and water pricing based on the polluter pays principle. It also proposes that national authorities be obliged to use the best available techniques for industrial emissions permits as well as EU-wide uniform standards of consumption for water-related products.


Water pricing on the basis of the polluter pays principle leads to the best possible use of this scarce resource. Limits on industrial emissions based on the best available techniques are important in order to protect EU waters against chemical pollution and to prevent the distortion of competition in the European market. EU-wide uniform standards of water consumption for “water-related” products are misconceived because the EU has both water-poor and water-rich regions and because excessive conservation of water can cause hygiene problems in water-rich regions.