BRUSSELS — Oct. 28, 2015 — The European Union (EU) has introduced new rules aimed at improving the monitoring of drinking water across Europe, according to a press release.

Rules adopted by the European Commission on Wednesday are designed to give member states flexibility over how drinking water quality is monitored in around 100,000 water supply zones, stated the release. According to the commission, this removes unnecessary burdens and will allow for more focused, risk-based monitoring, while ensuring full protection of public health.

Karmenu Vella, commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said in the release: “High-quality, safe drinking water is essential for well-being and public health, so we need to ensure high standards across the Union. This new monitoring and control system allows us to reduce unnecessary analyses and concentrate on controls that really matter.”

Member states have two years to apply the provisions of the new legislation, which amends the existing Drinking Water Directive, noted the release.

Under the revised rules, EU member countries can now decide, on the basis of a risk assessment, which parameter to monitor given that some drinking water supply zones do not pose any risk for finding hazardous substances. They can also choose to increase or reduce the frequency of sampling in water supply zones, as well as to extend the list of substances to monitor in case of public health concerns, the commission shared in the release.

The rules follow the principle of ‘hazard analysis and critical control point’ (HACCP), already used in food hygiene legislation, and the water safety plan approach laid down in the World Health Organization‘s Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality.

You can find the entire release here.