Clarifying a confusion of tongues

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Clarifying a confusion of tongues

Vepo, ara, eau, acqua, voda, woda, wasser, víz, vann, vettä, vesi, vandens, uisge, ilma, uisce. These words are not the names of extravagant holiday resorts or exciting activities that should be on your bucket list, but refer to our most important resource ‘water’. You may think this wide variety of words is used worldwide in many different countries, but it is a mere selection of all the words for water that are used in the 28 European Union (EU) Member States, which has 24 official languages.

Therefore, it is challenging to report on the European water sector, especially when you are trying to write independent, reliable news reports like Water News Europe does. For example, when we are writing an article on the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive in three different Member States, first, we need to find out what the legislation is called in each one.

Bilingual reporters

To give you an impression of the different possibilities, here are a few of them: Wasserramenrichtlinie (DE), Ramdirektivet för vatten (SK), Directiva Marco del Agua (ES), Kaderrichtlijn Water (NL) and Ramowa Dyrektywa Wodna (PL). Translations are needed to start research in the national trade media or newspapers in the different Member States. This is why we work with multilingual reporters to be able to deliver good investigative journalistic reports.

European institutions

Of course, there are many reports made by European institutions such as the European Environment Agency or the European Centre for Disease Prevention. These reports provide valuable information to start your research. But if you really want to know what is going on you need to dig deeper. Most Member States provide information on the implementation of the different guidelines themselves, but nobody checks if this is correct, so in theory the results could be different from reality.

Need to know

European Directives and regulations are becoming more and more important. That is why Water News Europe is a valuable source of information for water professionals in different Member States to answer such questions as: How are other countries performing? What kind of solutions are they using? And are the policy makers in Brussels aware of the practical problems individual Member States are facing?


The mission of Water News Europe is to contribute to the dissemination of reliable and indispensable information. However, we need to deal with the different languages and different water management environments. Despite these challenges, we are managing to perform quality research and that is paying off. Water News Europe is growing steadily. More and more water professionals are letting us know they are enthusiastic about our news service.


We are determined to grow as a reliable and indispensable source of information for all water professionals, but we need your help with that. Please contact us if you have an interesting topic or news item you think we should write about. Naturally we will inform you about the follow-up of your lead.

Esther Rasenberg

Chief Editor, Water News Europe

image from water chatter