The WFD serves as an international reference case for the protection and enhancement of fresh water resources. Since the WFD was adopted, however, the world has changed and the awareness of the value of water for our society and economy has steadily increased. Important developments that a review of the WFD should consider, include amongst others the digitalization of our society, new technological developments, an increased awareness about the impact of human behaviour on our environment and the impact of climate change. The digitization of the water sector will generate large amounts of data that will enable water actors to better govern and manage water.
To protect our fresh water resources in an effective way while at the same time making sure that enough water of the right quantity remains available for all its societal uses (industry, agriculture, domestic, and nature), we need to leverage on new technological capabilities and societal awareness. We also need to guarantee long term resilience against climate events, and economic sustainability of our water system.
A well-designed WFD that puts the rights drivers and incentives in place, can greatly contribute to realising a 'European Water-Smart Society' (Cfr: WssTP Water Vision) that:
1. Reduces the impact of European society on our natural water resources by 50% by 2030;
2. Delivers the true value of water for our society, the economy, and the environment;
3. Boosts the European water market, support job creation and sustainable growth of European societies, as well as the global competitiveness of European water industries;
4. Secures society’s long-term resilience, stability, sustainability and security regarding water.
Based on new societal and technological developments, described above, WssTP recommends that innovative business and economic models, governance models, and the digital agenda for the water and water-using sectors should be included in both the online public consultation and in the European Water Conference.
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