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Improving Water Quality: Tackling the Causes of Pollution and Promoting Sustainable Solutions

  • Thon Hotel Brussels City Centre Avenue du Boulevard 17 1210 Brussels Belgium (map)

Water is a crucial element for our life, economic activities and the sustainability of ecosystems across the planet. Its safeguard is therefore one of the cornerstones of environmental protection. According to the European Environment Agency (EEA), the quality of bathing water and water for people’s use has continued to improve in recent years across the European Union. However, despite the positive progress made, water pollution from sources like water treatment plans, agricultural runoff, as well as emerging risks, such as micro pollutants from personal care products, remain a big challenge impeding the maintenance of clean and healthy water.

Access to clean water is an important 2030 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), as its role in reducing poverty and disease and promoting sustainable growth is paramount. Water, as a common good, is also protected by European environmental law. The Blueprint framework consists of many initiatives, related to the EU's 2020 Strategy, covering even a longer timeline until 2050. The package includes the Water Framework Directive (2000), amendments to the Directive of Drinking Water (2015), Groundwater Directive (2006), Bathing Water Directive (2006), and River Basin Management plans. In 2017 the European Commission published an Inception Impact Assessment on the Revision of the Drinking Water Directive. Moreover, recently the European Commission released a Commission Staff Working Document on Agriculture and Sustainable Water Management in the EU and the 9th Commission Report on the implementation of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive in order to maximise the efforts against water pollution.

Every year the resources of drinkable water are getting fewer and the current consumption is leading us to shortages. The ground water needs to be preserved and protected from any toxic activity. One of the potential solutions could be water reuse, which is often called on the global level, but over 80% of the world’s wastewater is released to the environment without treatment (2017 UN Water Development Report). At this very important moment public authorities are faced with the challenge of finding the right balance between contradictory interests, providing sustainable solutions and enabling potential partnerships and cross border cooperation.

With the Water Framework Directive due to undergo a review in 2019, this timely symposium will bring experts, policy-makers, practitioners, business representatives and innovators to exchange ideas, promote alternative thinking and reflect on the most viable solutions for the protection of water. The participants will assess the efficiency of European practices and regulations on regional and national levels and will share the good practices from their fields.

Delegates Will:

  • Look into the European legislation aimed at enhancing water quality
  • Reflect on cross border and cross sector partnerships fighting water pollution
  • Understand the functioning of European funding instruments for Water safety
  • Identify strategies to address the impact of most common and emerging pollutants on water
  • Discover new opportunities of investing in the water industry
  • Evaluate the importance of water safety on the global scale and the costs of the water pollution
  • Look into best practices of water reuse and explore lessons learned
  • Learn about the standardisation of water quality
  • Gain insights on best local initiatives promoting better water management