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Review of the Directive

The Commission performed in 2014 a public consultation on the quality of drinking water in the EU in order to assess the need for improvements on EU drinking water legislation. The consultation is one of the actions announced in the response of the Commission to the European Citizens' Initiative ’Right2Water’(Communication (2014)177 final).This consultation may lead to a review and possible revision of Council Directive 98/83/EC of 3 November 1998 on the quality of water intended for human consumption (Drinking Water Directive).

To date, the Commission has made the following progress:

1) Revision of technical annexes: The Commission worked in close consultation with Member States, experts and stakeholders on a revised text for Annexes II and III. On Monday 20 April 2015, the Drinking Water Committee gave a positive opinion to adapt these Annexes to scientific and technical progress. The amendments will give in the future an opportunity to monitor drinking water parameters at more appropriate frequencies. The new Annex II provides an option to perform the drinking water monitoring in around 100,000 water supply zones in Europe in a more flexible way, provided a risk assessment is performed ensuring full protection of public health. It follows the principle of ‘hazard analysis and critical control point’ (HACCP) used already in food legislation, and the water safety plan approach laid down in the WHO Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality. These amendments will allow a better and more problem-oriented monitoring of small water supplies. The new monitoring and control system allows to reduce unnecessary analyses and to concentrate on those controls that matter.

The Directive was adopted by the Commission on 6th October 2015 and entered into force on 27th October 2015. The text of the Directive can be found in the Official Journal of the European Union. It has to be transposed into national legislation within a period of 24 months by the Member States.


2) Evaluation: The Evaluation of the overall Directive has been included in the Commissions' Working Plan "A new Start" 2015, COM(2014) 910 final of 16 Dec. 2014, Annex 3, as part of the wider response to the European Citizens Initiative Right2 Water. Objective of this ex-post evaluation under REFIT, the European Commission's Regulatory Fitness and Performance programme, is to evaluate past and current performance. An external study has been launched. A further stakeholder consultation to inform the evaluation is scheduled for 26 May 2015. The evaluation study report providing further evidence is scheduled for end 2015. For further information, please consult the project website:

Concerning radioactive substances in drinking water, in 2013 a Council Directive 2013/51/EURATOM was adopted, to be transposed by 28 November 2015, superseding the radioactivity requirements in Directive 98/83/EC. Further background on the Euratom Treaty and radiation protection legislation can be found here.