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Drinking Water

Regulation (obligations of the Member States and the Commission)

Member States are required to:

  1. ensure that the population concerned is informed thereof, in case they recourse to exemptions in accordance with the Drinking Water Directive (Article 3);
  2. take all necessary measures to ensure that the water intended for human consumption is wholesome and clean and in no circumstances those measures have the effect of allowing any deterioration of the present quality of water intended for human consumption;
  3. set the values applicable to water intended for human consumption for the parameters set out in Annex I of the Drinking Water Directive; the values shall not be less stringent that those set in Annex I; moreover, they will set values for additional parameters not included in Annex I, where the protection of human health within their national territory of part of it so requires;
  4. monitor regularly the quality of water intended for human consumption;
  5. ensure that any failure to meet the parametric values is investigated and corrected through remedial action as soon as possible;
  6. prohibit/restrict the use of the respective water supply if health protection reasons impose it and inform the consumers promptly thereof and give the necessary advice;
  7. take all necessary measures to ensure that no substances, materials for new installations, impurities associated with such materials remain in the water intended for human consumption;
  8. ensure that adequate up-to-date information on the quality of water for human consumption is available to the consumers;
  9. publish a report every three years on the quality of water.'

Member States may:

  1. exempt water intended exclusively for those purposes for which the competent authorities are satisfied that the quality of the water has no influence, either directly or indirectly on the health of the consumers concerned;
  2. exempt from the provisions of the Drinking Water Directive, for water intended for human consumption from individual supplies providing less than 10 cubic meters /day as an average or serving fewer than 50 persons, unless the water is supplied as part of a commercial or public activity;
  3. provide for derogations from the parametric values set in the Drinking Water Directive, provided no derogation constitutes a potential danger to human health and provided that the supply of water intended for human consumption in the area concerned cannot otherwise be maintained by any other reasonable means; no derogation shall exceed three years; when they provide for a second derogation, they will communicate this to the Commission;
  4. exceptionally, ask the Commission for a third derogation; again, no derogation shall exceed three years.

Member States which recourse to any of the derogations, have the obligation to ensure that the population affected by any such derogation is promptly informed in an appropriate manner and advice is given to particular population groups for which the derogation could present a special risk.

The Commission has to:

  1. examine the applications for derogations submitted by the Member States;
  2. review Annex I – Parameters and parametric values in the light of scientific and technical progress and make proposals for amendments;
  3. amend Annex II – Monitoring and III – Specifications for the analysis of parameters to make the necessary adaptations to scientific and technical progress; this measures shall be adopted in accordance with Comitology rules;
  4. examine the Member States' report and every three years, publish a synthesis report on the quality of water intended for human consumption in the European Union.