Current Situation

Today, there a different developments on EU and national level concerning the harmonisation of standards for materials and products in contact with drinking water.

For updates on those developments, see also the "News" section.

EU activities

The Revision of the Drinking Water Directive

The European Commission announced a review of the Drinking Water Directive in March 2014 as a direct follow up to the Right2Water European Citizens' Initiative. After completing a so-called REFIT evaluation (see full report), which recognised that the art. 10 has led to the proliferation of different national certification systems leading to technical barriers to trade, unnecessary burden for the industry and increasing disparities between national standards on materials and articles in contact with drinking water, the Commission adopted a proposal for a revised drinking water directive to modernize the 20 year old DWD (98/83/EC).

The ordinary legislative procedure started.


Key events

  • 01/02/2018: Legislative proposal published by EU Commission
  • 05/03/2019: General Approach by the EU Council
  • 28/03/2019: First reading in EU Parliament
  • 25/09/2019: Committee decision to open interinstitutional negotiations after 1st reading in Parliament
  • 07/10/2019: 1st Trilogue Meeting

2018: EU Commission releases proposal for the Drinking Water Directive

On February 1st, the EU Commission released the official proposal for the revision of the Drinking Water Directive (DWD).

Article 10 of the Drinking Water Directive concerns materials and products in contact with drinking water.

The proposal states:

Former Article 10 — Quality assurance of treatment equipment and materials (deleted)

Former Article 10 is deleted: it is considered that this Article is no longer necessary under Directive 98/83/EC and is partly replaced by new Article 10 on domestic distribution risk assessment. The necessary harmonisation will take place, instead, under internal market legislation with the issuance of standardisation mandates under the Construction Products Regulation. Until these standardisation mandates are executed and the harmonised standards are published in the Official Journal, the status quo will continue to apply.

In EDW's point of view, the Commission proposal on the Recast of the DWD is insufficient in providing harmonisation. The objective of the CPR is to set harmonised European standards for the marketing of construction products all over the EU, in order to deepen the EU single market. But many products in contact with drinking water – such as, water heaters, water meters, pumps, and domestic appliances - do not fall under the scope of the CPR. So the proposal excludes a large share of products in contact with drinking water from harmonisation, creating a significant loophole and legal vacuum.

Read the full position paper.

National activities towards harmonisation

In addition to the national regulatory authorities, which implement the EU regulation in each Member State, voluntary initiatives between some Member States have developed to achieve a greater harmonisation of national requirements for products in contact with drinking water.

The 4MS Initiative

The initial four EU Member States (France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom), the “4MS” announced in January 2011 that they have formalised arrangements to work together with the objective to reach a ‘Common Approach’.

In 2019, Denmark joined the alliance as 5th member, but the name remains "4MS".

The objective of the ‘Common Approach’ is to harmonise tests and testing requirements ensuring that products in contact with drinking water are suitable to maintain the hygienic safety of drinking water. The work on the ‘Common Approach’ is currently ongoing.

In 2017 EDW became the exclusive industry partner of the 4MS Initiative and is working in the 4 MS Task Group "Common Approach Minor and Assembled Products Testing" (TG CA MAPT).

The Nordic project MAID

Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden initiated the MAID project (Material and product innovation through knowledge based standardization in drinking water sector) in 2014 with the objective to foster innovation and harmonisation in the drinking water sector.

Therefore, standards and guidelines should be identified regarding rationality, practicability and safety to ensure quality for placing materials and products in contact with drinking water on the market.

Industry and national authorities work together on this project to develop a Nordic common acceptance scheme for products in contact with drinking water.

The first report (Report 1) "Nordic drinking water quality" and the second report (Report 2) "Regulations and approval systems in the Nordic countries" were published in November 2017.

Common Approach

Documents related to the "Common approach" and more information on the 4 MS initiative.