The European Parliament has finally approved the European regulation on minimum requirements for water reuse for agricultural irrigation, which encourages the reuse of purified wastewaters, i.e. the urban wastewaters treated in a water treatment plant for agricultural irrigation.
In line with the principles of the circular economy, the new regulation, which will come into force in 2023, aims at securing water resources for agricultural irrigation in case of drought and, thus, avert the risk of crop losses through the reuse of wastewaters. Water scarcity and drought are a serious problem in several Member States. According to the European Commission, 11% of the European population and 17% of the European territories suffer from water stress.
The new norms provide for the largest reuse possible of the treated wastewaters, in order to limit the use of water bodies and groundwater. The drop in groundwater levels, which is mainly due to agricultural irrigation, as well as to industrial uses and urban development, is one of the biggest threats to the EU water environment.