European water sector stands out in diversity • Water News Europe

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European water sector stands out in diversity • Water News Europe

The European water sector is providing water services for a population of nearly 450 million in 27 European countries. The European water sector is large and complex with many different stakeholders.


What does the European water sector look like?

The European water sector is made up of water utilities, national and regional governments, research institutes, professional and trade associations, international organisations, and the private sector. Sometimes water utilities are publicly owned, sometimes privately. Nowadays, more and more water services are delivered by public-private partnerships. Think of Design, Build, Finance and Operate Contracts (DBFO). Thanks to these partnerships investments in water infrastructure or new technologies are feasible.

The European Union (EU) is a major driver of water policies and legislation, with the European Commission playing a major role. European water policies cover the use of water resources, wastewater treatment, drinking water quality, and flood and environmental protection.

The European water sector is highly regulated, with the European Water Framework Directive (WFD) as a cornerstone. The WFD sets out the main principles for integrated water management, such as the protection of water resources, the prevention of water pollution, and the promotion of a sustainable water sector.

In recent years, the European water sector has seen an increasing focus on sustainability and innovation. Smart solutions and advanced technologies play an important role in the European water sector, helping to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of water management. In addition, the sector is increasingly looking to renewable energy sources.

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