Source protection of surface water bodies used for drinking water in Europe.
“Precaution is always better than fixing problems afterwards. … We need to prevent today what must not happen tomorrow.” (European River Memorandum 2020)
Water is essential for all life on earth. Access to water for water supply is one of our most important natural resources as we cannot live without. However, there are several pressures on our fresh water sources that threaten the availability of qualitative water such as climate change, intense agriculture, urbanization and salinization. Careful utilization and protection against activities and measures that may have a negative effect on the quality and quantity of the fresh water sources are consequently required. In a safe water supply chain, the water body from which the water is abstracted is a vulnerably component. There is a strong need for a protective framework to ensure the availability of fresh water sources for present and coming generations. This framework is provided on a European level by the Water Framework Directive and more specifically in article 7 of this directive. Amongst other measures it provides member states the possibility to identify zones that are used for the production of drinking water that require (higher) protection. An analysis of how this possibility has been implemented in different member states has been performed by the junior water professionals of EJWP1 and presented in a webinar during the EJWP online training week (15 – 19 June).