A NEW INDUSTRIAL EMISSIONS DIRECTIVE Mastering water efficiency and reuse challenges

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A NEW INDUSTRIAL EMISSIONS DIRECTIVE Mastering water efficiency and reuse challenges

The Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) has proven its added value since industrial emissions, particularly in air, have been decreasing over the past decade in Europe. However, it is now time to focus on pollution reduction to water and soil and improve water efficiency to achieve a European Water-Smart Society in line with the European objectives particularly the Green Deal and the zero-pollution strategy.

If the IED has likely contributed to reduce emissions to water and slightly improve water efficiency, its contribution to water policy remains low with only 17% of Best available techniques (BATs) on water emissions which mostly do not focus on reduction at source; and only 20 BATs out of 850 which promote water use reductions

1 . Europe is not any longer the frontrunner in term of water efficiency and reuse. Today, reclaimed water supplies up to 40% of Singapore’s current water needs

2 , while in Europe the unofficial target is 4% by 2025

3 . Moreover, Chinese regional authorities are already working on water efficiency metric in the Yangtze economic basin (45% of the Chinese GDP, including the plastic valley), calculating the quantity of water needed per unit of GDP (water-nomic)

4 . Some of our members have reported that Chinese legislation is becoming more stringent than the European one for certain threshold limits set for pollutants in industrial water discharges. The costs of non-action are already high for tackling climate change. “The sooner we start, the lower the cost”

5 . Therefore, the article 11 of the Industrial Emissions Directive must include in the general principle water efficiency, cascading and reuse water for industrial processes.

Several technologies and processes are already available

6 . Water Europe therefore welcomes the initiative of the European Commission to update this directive which will contribute to: SECURING EUROPEAN COMPETITIVENESS by avoiding critical choice between production plants due to a missed consideration of the value of water.