Adopting a human rights approach to water management, boosting investment, introducing consumption label, and price restructuring are among the key recommendations set out in six EESC opinions on water adopted at its July plenary. They make up the first wave of EESC proposals for a comprehensive EU water policy under its Blue Deal initiative.

In response to the pressing challenges in this area, the European Economic and Social Committee is leading the way with a comprehensive set of recommendations for a sustainable water policy for Europe. Its Blue Deal initiative calls for a unified approach across Europe to eradicating water poverty and ensuring access to safe and affordable water and sanitation as a human right.

To achieve these goals, the EESC highlights the importance of developing resilient water infrastructure and distribution networks. This begins with conducting assessments of the current state of water infrastructure and availability in each Member State to identify investment needs and ensure efficient water management.

The series of EESC recommendations on the economics of an EU Blue Deal include implementing pricing strategies that discourage wasteful water consumption and proposing new means of financing water policies. The Committee aims to position the EU as a global leader in water-efficient technologies. It proposes embedding water in all EU industrial policies to reduce water consumption, promote reuse and recycling, and address water pollution. As for agriculture, the EESC suggests a similar approach ensuring that the water dimension is fully incorporated within the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) framework.

Recognising the power of consumers in driving change, the EESC also wants to promote the use of water-efficient appliances by introducing water consumption labels and circular water consumption practices, empowering individuals to contribute to the solution.
These proposals will be consolidated in a set of key principles and actions to be presented to the European institutions at the Call for an EU Blue Deal conference on 26 October 2023. The EESC's objective is for water to be one of the top priorities of the next European Commission. (gb)