006b NCWRM 2011 Papadoyannakis_EC_DGEnv

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Regional Conference on Advancing Non Conventional Water Resources Management in the Mediterranean, 14-15 September 2011, Athens, Greece

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006b NCWRM 2011 Papadoyannakis_EC_DGEnv

  1. 1. REGIONAL CONFERENCE ON ADVANCING NON CONVENTIONAL WATER RESOURCES(NCWR) MANAGEMENT IN THE MEDITERRANEAN, 14-15 SEPTEMBER 2011, ATHENS, GREECE NCWR : The EU Policy Framework and Experience Michail Papadoyannakis Marine Environment and Water Industry Directorate General Environment European Commission
  2. 2. The broad policy context• The Communication on Water Scarcity and Droughts establishes a « water hierarchy » giving priority to water savings and efficiency; new water supply infrastructures should be envisaged only when other options have been exhausted• Draft Strategy for Water in the Mediterranean (SWM) also gives priority to « demand side and planning management” and encourages development of state of the art, environmentally sound NCWR exploitation• An EU Policy Review for water scarcity and droughts is envisaged for 2012, which will be part of the "Blue Print for Safeguarding European Waters"• The role of alternative water supply options will grow in the future due to climate change and the reduction of water availability, so particular attention should be paid to their implementation and the continuous improvement of knowledge in this field• Need to consider regional paricularities (Mediterranean one of the most arid regions wordwide) within the EU and north-south specificities in the Mediterranean (for example in the context of a future SWM)
  3. 3. Which NCWRs ?• Desalination• Wastewater reuse• Rainwater harvesting and• Groundwater rechargeConditions for sustainable development of all of them in EU have been examined in detail inhttp://ec.europa.eu/environment/water/quantity/building_blocks_prev.ht m#four_alt• Overriding importance of local factors is highlighted• In the Mediterranean, when saving possibilities and traditional water sources are not sufficent, waste water reuse and desalination can be components of the policy mix to meet current and future needs
  4. 4. Desalination The EU experience• Widely used(2008) : Spain (more than 700 plants, enough for 8 millioninhabitants); 750000m3/day in Italy; Cyprus two plants, plans to expand themand build another four; (75% of supply requirement forNicosia/Larnaca/Famagusta); more than 45% of total water needs in Malta;•Environmental impacts include : intensive use of energy, brine discharge,intake pipes (impact on marine biodiversity, « entrainnment » of marineorganisms), land use, impact on groundwater, noise•Advantages: reliable supply of water of satisfactory quality, regardless ofadverse weather conditions (drought)•Issues : High cost, sensitivity to energy prices fluctuations (link with renewableenergy sources); need for ex-ante careful assessment of needs, environmentalassessment of impacts and cost-benefit analysis: water saving and efficient usemeasures must be examined first exhaustively; « water hierarchy » and full costrecovery (including internalization of environmental and societal costs andbenefits, whenever possible)
  5. 5. Wastewater Reuse The EU experience• MED-EUWI Wastewater Reuse Working Group assessed current (2007) knowledge andexperience on treated waste water reuse in the EU and Mediterranean countries inhttp://ec.europa.eu/environment/water/water-urbanwaste/info/water_reuse.htm•Widely used in Spain and to a lesser extent in Italy, Cyprus, Malta; interest increasesalso in non-Mediterranean EU Member States such as Germany, UK, Belgium•Risks include potential impact to groundwater and soil (enrichment in nitrates/heavymetals, other substances potentially harmful to plants) and to human health (spread ofpathogenic germs)•Benefits : positive contribution to fresh water balance (rechargement of aquifers,substitution of use of fresh water), reduction of use of fertilisers, reduction of wastewater treatment costs (no advanced treatment necessary)•Issues; feasibility/need for guidance/regulatory framework at EU wide level (existenceof national legislation in some EU countries for certain uses; realisation of benefits andavoidance of risks highly depends on local circumstances and uses)
  6. 6. Relevant EU policy framework• The Water Framework Directive (WFD) establishes principles like public participation in water management decisions and (as of 2010) cost recovery for water services, on the basis of economic analysis and cost- effective combination of measures in respect of water uses• A number of EU water-related directives require specific standards for specific water uses; for example the Drinking Water Directive sets requirements for the quality of surface water intended for abstraction of drinking water in the Member States• The Marine Strategy Framework Directive aims at good environmental status of marine waters and the WFD aims at good ecological status of coastal surface and ground waters – all these water bodies are likely to be affected by NCWR, for example desalination effluents• The Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive states that "treated wastewater shall be reused whenever appropriate“; it does not cover desalination effluents
  7. 7. Relevant EU policy framework• The recently adopted Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) sets out the main principles for the permitting and control of certain installations, but not desalination or urban wastewater treatment activities; however, this does not rule out any future revision of the way in which such activities are permitted• Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA); it covers certain water-and treated wastewater related actions, but not desalination; it also covers associated works, like water pipes (long-distance aqueducts). A review is foreseen for 2012; including desalination in the scope is one of the options currently under examination and was suggested by certain MS (Cyprus, Malta, Estonia)• Strategic Environmental Assessment : it covers plans and programmes which are prepared for water management and energy and set the framework for future projects. It can be used to appropriately assess the needs and the alternatives at a higher (planning) level.• Habitats Directive for the protection of natural habitats, depending on location of the facility (e.g. desalination plant)
  8. 8. Relevant EU policy framework• Desalination, due to its possible environmental impacts, current size and growth potential, has been singled out to be monitored under the Ecosystem Approach of the Barcelona Convention• The Commission services take into account water hierarchy and cost recovery when assessing requests for EU co-financing for project proposals in the context of the EU cohesion policy• National laws of some EU Member States go beyond the requirements of the EU law, by regulating NCWR activities, either when transposing EU legislation (for example CY and ES have included desalination in their national EIA law) or by applying other standards (for example WHO standards adopted by several Mediterranean EU countries on certain uses of treated wastewater)
  9. 9. Concluding remarks• Water saving and efficient water management should be given priority; alternative supply options, in particular those involving additional infrastructure, should be considered only when saving and efficiency improvement options have been exhausted• In some Mediterranean countries NCWR constitute an indispensable contribution to adequate water supply• In line with WFD, effective water pricing and recovery of costs from the water users concerned will be increasingly implemented• More in-depth assessment of benefits and risks of NCWR and due consideration of local conditions is necessary before deciding whether further aspoects of their management need to be regulated at EU level• The draft Strategy for Water in the Mediterranean promotes the conditional use of NCWR and the EU supports this approach; adoption of the Strategy and of an Action Plan will allow project prioritisation in a transparent and coherent manner
  10. 10. Thank you for your attention

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