EU legislative package for water?
On October 26, 2022, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a directive amending the Water Framework Directive, the Groundwater Directive and the Environmental Quality Standards Directive.
The overarching goal of the changes is to protect human health and the environment from toxic pollution in the water area. There is little reference to agriculture and pollution from agriculture in the proposed directive itself.
In contrast, there is much more about agriculture in the directive’s impact assessment report (almost 100 times), among other things:
- a change in the level of microplastics and a revision of the sewage sludge directive, the so-called SSD, which regulates the quality of such sludge used in agriculture;
- the cost the agricultural sector will have to bear in replacing the toxic substances it has been using to date to protect water and air.
A positive impact on water used for drinking and agricultural purposes has also been predicted in the impact.
Costs for the agricultural sector have also been predicted:
- administrative costs,
- costs related to fertilizers and pesticides,
- costs related to fertilizer and pesticide management, adapted feed techniques and sampling, and wastewater treatment,
- taxes and fees to cover the costs of water services and activities that have a significant impact on the environment; and the environment,
- in some cases, replacement costs. Business and administrative costs will be felt more upstream due to the need to reduce emissions during production or find substitutes for certain substances.
Robert Lisiewicz, Green REV Institute legal team: „The directive itself says little on the subject, it only sets targets. In the impact assessment, a lot of burden has been thrown on agriculture due to the new regulations on toxic substances in water, and on the other hand, this has been turned into benefits for the sector. However, these are only predictions of the working teams, the implementation of this by the Polish government may not correspond to these predictions.”