BRUSSELS - “I regret that there is no proposal from the EC for legislation recognising the human right to water”, says Jan Willem Goudriaan, vice-president of the European Citizen Initiative (ECI) Right2Water. Right2water is not satisfied with the reaction of the European Committee on the results of the referendum that was held on this topic. “It lacks any real ambition to respond appropriately to the expectations of 1.9 million people.”
In their answer to the referendum on "Water as a human right" the European Committee proposed on 19 May a list of actions to be taken, like a EU-wide public consultation on the Drinking Water Directive, in view of improving access to quality water in the EU.
However, a positive step, according to Right2Water, is the recognition that the provision of water services is generally the responsibility of local authorities, which are closest to citizens. Goudriaan: “This confirms the trend towards remunicipalisation across Europe which according to the communication is the safest way for water to be kept out of the internal market rules, one of the main demands of the ECI”.
The European Commission announces furthermore to improve transparency for urban wastewater and drinking water data management and explore the idea of benchmarking water quality. Also the Commission will bring about a “more structured dialogue between stakeholders on transparency in the water sector” and will cooperate with initiatives to provide a wider set of benchmarks for water services. Stimulation of innovative partnerships between water operators and to public-public partnerships, promoting sharing of best practices and identify new opportunities for cooperation are part of the actions the EC has said to take up. The EC claims to advocate universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation as a priority area for future Sustainable Development Goals.