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EU introduces more efficient monitoring of drinking water quality

New EU rules to improve the monitoring of drinking water across Europe come into force, improving access to wholesome and clean drinking water in Europe. As a first step following the European Citizens’ Initiative Right2Water, new rules adopted by the European Commission today provide flexibility to Member States as to how drinking water quality is monitored in around 100,000 water supply zones in Europe. This will allow for more focused, risk-based monitoring, while ensuring full protection of public health.

This new monitoring and control system will allow member states to reduce unnecessary analyses and concentrate on controls that really matter. This amendment of the Drinking Water Directive is a response to calls by citizens and the European Parliament to adopt legislation ensuring a better, fair and comprehensive water supply. It allows for an improved implementation of EU rules by Member States as it removes unnecessary burdens. Member States can now decide, on the basis of a risk assessment, which parameter to monitor given that some drinking water supply zones do not pose any risk for finding hazardous substances. They can also choose to increase or reduce the frequency of sampling in water supply zones, as well as to extend the list of substances to monitor in case of public health concerns. Flexibility in the monitoring of parameters and the frequency of sampling is framed by a number of conditions to be met, to ensure protection of citizens’ health. The new rules follow the principle of ‘hazard analysis and critical control point’ (HACCP), already used in food hygiene legislation, and the water safety plan approach laid down in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality. Member States have two years to apply the provisions of this new legislation.

In order to effectively manage sampling and monitoring data at over 100,000 water supply zones water utilities and other stakeholders will need access to software like Locus EIM Water to organize complex water quality management information in real time and automate laboratory management programs and reporting. Locus EIM has been in use by numerous water utilities in the United States.

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