With this Directive, the EU aims to protect water quality across Europe by preventing pollution by nitrates from agricultural sources and by promoting the use of good farming practices. Today's report shows that the Directive has been successful in reducing water pollution caused by nitrates in both surface and groundwater in the last two decades. The report however points to some disparities among Member States, which calls for renewed efforts to bring waters in the European Union to a good status.
Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries said, "Clean water is vital for healthy ecosystems and for citizens' quality of life. I am happy to see that EU rules to reduce pollution from nitrates in water are delivering. Member States' longstanding efforts to put them into practice are paying off. Still further effort is needed to achieve a more sustainable agriculture in the EU. Farmers should always be looking for ways to manage the nutrient cycle more sustainably. This will reduce the costs for public authorities to treat polluted water, make it safe for drinking and is in the long-term interests of the farmers themselves.”
More information on today's report is available here.
In February 2018, the European Commission proposed legislation to improve the quality of drinking water and access to it as well as provide better information to citizens. More details can be found here.