Water reuse for agricultural irrigation: Council adopts new rules

The EU is taking new measures to reduce the risk of shortages of water for irrigating crops. The Council today adopted by written procedure a regulation which will facilitate the use of treated urban waste water (reclaimed water) for agricultural irrigation.

The rules will help Europe adapt to the consequences of climate change. The regulation, which is fully in line with the circular economy, will improve the availability of water and encourage its efficient use. Ensuring that enough water is available for the irrigation of fields, in particular during heatwaves and severe droughts, can help prevent crop shortfall and food shortages.

Given that geographic and climatic conditions vary greatly across member states, a member state may decide that it is not appropriate to use reclaimed water for agricultural irrigation in part or all of its territory.

Today’s decision means that the Council has adopted its position at first reading. The regulation now needs to be adopted by the European Parliament at second reading before it can be published in the Official Journal.