Coordinated EU action
From a legislative perspective, the keystone of the EU’s water protection policy is the EU Water Framework Directive, which committed all Member States to protecting and enhancing freshwater resources with the aim of achieving a good status for EU waters. Its scope extends beyond lakes, rivers and groundwater to transitional and coastal waters. The main tools for implementing the Directive are the River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) and the Programmes of Measures, which are prepared in six-year cycles.
The EU’s water legislation, including the Water Framework Directive and related Directives, the Floods Directive, as well as the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive, is currently under evaluation; this process will be completed by the end of 2019.
Spurring water innovation through technological progress
One significant area covered by several of the featured projects (specifically the ECWRTI, iMETland, REMEB and POWERSTEP projects) is innovation in waste water treatment processes. The projects focus on improving waste water treatment to enable recycling and reuse of water in both industry and agriculture, reduce the operational and energy cost, and increase energy production of waste water treatment plants.
Other projects, such as MOSES and MASLOWATEN, have focused their attention on better and more water efficiency and energy efficient irrigation in the agricultural sector. The CENTAUR project has been at the centre of efforts to reduce the risks and consequences of urban flooding. The CYTO-WATER project developed a platform for rapid detection of microorganisms in industrial and environmental waters.
Finally, SUBSOL brings new coastal subsurface water solutions to the market and REGROUND has been working to bring forward a novel water nano-geotechnology for the immobilisation of toxic metals in groundwater aquifers, drinking water wells and river bank filtration sites.