The Minister of the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development, Joëlle Welfring, the Water Management Agency (AGE), the syndicate of Luxembourg's cities and municipalitie (Syvicol) and the Association luxembourgeoise des services d'eau (Aluseau) invited to their press conference "Virstellung vum neien Drénkwaassergesetz"today. During this press conference, the law of 23 December 2022 on the quality of water intended for human consumption and amending the amended law of 19 December 2008 on water was presented.
As an introduction, Minister Joëlle Welfring explained the historical background of the Drinking Water Law and its general structure. Tom Schaul, advisor at the Ministry of the Environment, then presented the law in detail. Emile Eicher, president of Syvicol, emphasised the special role and responsibility of the municipalities in the supply of drinking water. The Water Law of 2008 stipulates that the municipalities are responsible for the distribution of drinking water. The privatisation of drinking water is therefore prohibited by Luxembourg law. In this respect, Syvicol is committed to greater cooperation between the municipalities and the associations of municipalities. Mr. Georges Kraus, president of Aluseau, then shared this opinion by reminding us of the important role of Aluseau, which is to facilitate the implementation and technical understanding of the law on drinking water by the municipalities.
Drinking water in Luxembourg
Luxembourg's drinking water is made up of half groundwater and half surface water (Lac de la Haute-Sûre). Regular consumption of drinking water has doubled in Luxembourg over the last 15 years. Drinking water is therefore increasingly considered as a local and reliable food. This confidence is perfectly justified, with over 99% of drinking water analyses being in conformity.
In order to guarantee the security of the drinking water supply, the government has set itself a strategy to ensure the long-term supply of drinking water. This strategy is based on 3 interconnected pillars:
- Protection of existing resources
- Saving water
- Development of new resources
Why change the law?
The growing interest in drinking water is not only reflected in increased consumption, but also in the success of the right2water initiative. In 2013, the initiative collected around 1.8 million signatures. Among other things, this initiative is about better access to drinking water - for everyone. Due to the great success of this initiative, the European Commission has decided to revise the 1998 Drinking Water Directive. The aim of the new directive is to improve both the "right towater" and the "right ofwater". The new version of the Drinking Water Directive must be implemented throughout the European Union by 12 January 2023. Luxembourg is therefore within the deadline, taking into account that the new law came into force on 1 January 2023.
With the amendments we presented today, we have integrated this European directive into national legislation.
What are the main elements of the new drinking water law?
The new lawreplaces the Grand Ducal Regulation of 7 October 2002, which until now regulated the quality of drinking water. Many of the points of this regulation, such as the parameters that define the quality of drinking water, are maintained.
The main changes are as follows:
- Updating of the quality standards
- Adoption of a risk-based approach
- Regulation of materials in contact with water
- Improved access to water
- Improved information to the public
- System of effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions
What are the main deadlines of the new law?
"Ech sinn immens houfreg kënnen ze soen, dass mir zu Lëtzebuerg eng Virreiderroll anhuelen, well mir elo scho vill Mesuren ëmgesat hunn déi déi europäesch Direktiv eréischt fir an de kommende Joere virgesinn huet.",underlines Minister Joëlle Welfring.
The European directive provides for a number of deadlines. Luxembourg, however, has higher ambitions and has made it a priority to achieve these objectives as soon as possible. Thus, the risk management in drinking water and supply areas ("Water Safety Plan") has already been implemented. From this year onwards, the Drëpsi Certificate of Excellence will be awarded to water suppliers who have demonstrated particular performance.
1 January 2023
- The new law enters into force
- First assessment of leaks in drinking water systems.
- First list of materials that may be used in contact with drinking water.
- Quality standards are updated.
- Risk analyses are carried out in drinking water protection zones.
- Drinking water dispensers will be installed in public places.
- Drinking water is distributed to public buildings and administrations.
- Risk analyses are carried out on public drinking water networks.
- Risk analyses are carried out in domestic networks.
Press release by the Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development, the Water Management Agency (AGE), the syndicate of Luxembourg's cities and municipalities (Syvicol) and the Luxembourg Association of Water utilities (Aluseau)