Written by Tarja Laaninen (5th edition, updated on 25.01.2021),

Female hand pouring water from pitcher to glass on nature background
© krisana / Fotolia

On 1 February 2018, the European Commission published a proposal for a recast of the Directive on the quality of water intended for human consumption (the Drinking Water Directive). The proposal responded to the European Citizens’ Initiative, Right2Water, and built on a fitness check which concluded that the 20-year old directive is fit for purpose, but needs updating. The main elements of the proposal consist of updating the water quality standards, introducing a risk-based approach to the monitoring of water, improving information provided to consumers, harmonising the standards for products in contact with drinking water, and improving access to water. In the European Parliament, the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) adopted its report in September 2018. The Parliament concluded its first reading in plenary in March 2019. A new rapporteur was appointed at the beginning of the new parliamentary term, and agreement was reached on the text in trilogue negotiations on 18 December 2019. The Parliament voted to adopt the text at second reading on 15 December 2020. The directive was published in the Official Journal on 23 December 2020, and the Member States have until 12 January 2023 to transpose it into national legislation.


Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the quality of water intended for human consumption (recast)
Committee responsible: Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) COM(2017) 753
Rapporteur: Christophe Hansen (EPP, Luxembourg) 2018/0332(COD)
Shadow rapporteurs: Rory Palmer (S&D, United Kingdom)
Ulrike Müller (ALDE, Germany)
Simona Baldassarre (ID, Italy)
Sven Giegold (Greens/EFA, Germany)
Rob Rooken (ECR, Netherlands)
Idoia Villanueva Ruiz (The Left, Spain)
Ordinary legislative procedure (COD) (Parliament and Council on equal footing – formerly ‘co-decision’)
Procedure completed. Directive (EU) 2020/2184
OJ L 435, 23.12.2020, pp. 1-62