MEPs backed plans this week to increase the use of tap water for drinking.
“It’s been recognised in the European Parliament that consumers’ trust in drinking water from the tap needs to be restored,” said Brian Hayes MEP.
“The EU Drinking Water Directive sets minimum quality standards for water intended for human consumption (drinking, cooking, other domestic purposes), in order to protect us from contamination. Parliament voted this week to update the rules to increase consumer confidence and encourage the drinking of tap water, which is much cheaper and cleaner for the environment compared to bottled water,” he explained, adding that: “The updated Drinking Water Directive is another important legislative step towards implementing the EU Plastics Strategy.
The new rules include:
· Tightening the maximum limits for certain pollutants such as lead (to be reduced by half), harmful bacteria, as well as introducing new caps for certain endocrine disruptors.
· Member states to take measures to provide universal access to clean water in the EU and improve water access in cities and public places, by setting up free fountains where technically feasible and proportionate. They should also encourage tap water to be provided in restaurants, canteens and catering services for free or for a low service fee.
· Member states should identify people without access, or with limited access to water, including vulnerable and marginalised groups, and assess ways to improve their access.
“We’ve had our challenges in this country with cryptosporidium outbreaks in our water and this has naturally impacted on people’s ability to drink from the tap. These updated rules should impact positively on our drinking water standards in this country – providing monetary savings for consumers as well as assisting us to play our part in tackling plastic waste.”