Press conference by Janez Potočnik on the Blueprint to safeguard Europe's waters
On 15 November 2012, Janez Potocnik, Member of the EC in charge of Environment, announced that the Commission has launched a Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water Resources, a strategy for ensuring that enough good quality water is available to meet the needs of people, the economy and the environment.
EU waters are not doing well in terms of quality, despite improvements in recent years. Water quantity is of equal concern with water scarcity spreading in Europe and extreme events (like floods) increasing in too many Member States.
In order to achieve the already existing Water Framework Directive objective of good water status by 2015, the Water Blueprint sets out a three-tier strategic approach:
-Improving implementation of current EU water policy by making full use of the opportunities provided by the current laws. For example, increasing the take-up of natural water retention measures such as the restoration of wetlands and floodplains or improving implementation of the "polluter pays" principle through metering, water-pricing and better economic analysis.
-Increasing the integration of water policy objectives into other relevant policy areas such as agriculture, fisheries, renewable energy, transport and the Cohesion and Structural Funds.
-Filling the gaps of the current framework, particularly in relation to the tools needed to increase water efficiency. In this regard, the Water Blueprint envisages water accounts and water efficiency targets to be set by Member States and the development of EU standards for water re-use.