Brussels urges EU members to reuse city water in farms

The European Commission on Wednesday urged EU member states to re-use treated urban wastewater as irrigation on the continent’s parched farms.

Much of Europe has been hit by a lengthy dry spell this year, and the EU executive warns that climate change could see half of the river basins in the bloc short of water by 2030.

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“Freshwater resources are scarce and increasingly under pressure,” said Virginijus Sinkevicius, EU commissioner for the environment, fisheries and the oceans.

“We need to stop wasting water and use this resource more efficiently to adapt to the changing climate and ensure the security and sustainability of our agricultural supply.”

More than 40 billion cubic meters of wastewater are treated every year in the EU, but only 964 million are reused, according to the European Commission.

Places like Israel, California, Singapore, and Australia already have better systems in place to redirect wastewater to farms and Brussels thinks EU members could re-use at least six billion by 2025.

A new EU water use regulation will come into effect from June 2023, but the commission wants member states to move quickly to redirect treated water to irrigation.

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