To help alleviate water scarcity, the European Commission on May 28 unveiled new rules to facilitate its reuse in the European Union for agricultural irrigation.

“This proposal will create only winners – our farmers will have access to a sustainable supply for irrigation water, our consumers will know the products they eat are safe, and our businesses will see new opportunities,” said Commissioner Karmenu Vella, responsible for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. “The biggest winner of them all will be our environment as the proposal contributes to better management of our most precious resource – water.”

According to a Commission press release, minimum requirements will be set for the reuse of treated waste water from urban waste water treatment plants, covering microbiological elements (for example, levels of E. coli bacteria) and monitoring requirements for routine and validation monitoring. Setting minimum requirements will guarantee that reclaimed water produced in accordance with the new rules will be safe for irrigation.

Also, the public will be given access to information online about water reuse practice in their member states.