Policy and Regulations

Policy and Regulations

Timeline of regulatory initiatives relating to water reuse at a EU level

Until the 2020 EU regulations on minimum requirements for water reuse, European wide standards or guidelines to regulate water reuse in Europe were inexistent. However, over the years, the EU has developed a portfolio of directives developed to protect the environment and human health, regulate the water cycle and are therefore of major importance for water reuse. These regulatory initiatives are listed below including links to the relevant documents.

Further information on policies and regulatory tools developed nationally for specific water reuse applications in six of the 28 EU member states are also provided in the table below the timeline with links to the relevant documents when available.

Policies and regulatory tools in place at national level across the European Union

2005 – Standards for the reuse of treated wastewater for irrigation, Decree no. 296/03.06.05 adopted in 2005 along with a Code of Good Agricultural Practice (P.I. 263/2007).

Issuing institutions: 

  • Ministry of Agriculture, Natural resources and Environment
  • Water development Department


2002-2013 – The Water Pollution Control Laws. The basic legislative instrument on which the control of water and soil pollution control is regulated is Law No. 106 (I)/2002. This Law together with its amendments (No. (I)/2005, 76 (I)/2006, 22 (I)/2007, 11 (I)/2008, 53 (Ι)/2008, 68 (I)/2009, 78 is known as The Control of Water Pollution Laws 2002 to 2013″

  • The Water Pollution Control (Discharge of Urban Waste Water) Regulations of 2003 (No. 772/2003).
  • The Water Pollution Control (Sensitive Areas for Disposal of Urban Waste Water) Ministerial Decree of 2013 (No. 280/2013).
  • The Ministerial Decree of small – scale wastewater treatment plants < 2000 p.e (No. 379/2015).
  • The Code of Good Agriculture Practice Decree (No. 263/2007).
  • The Environmental Impact Assessment Law (No. 127 (I)/2018) for discharge to water bodies and for the management of the effluent for new UWWTPs.

Available here (in English) here (in Greek) and here (in Greek)

*NEW*  2023 – Décret n° 2023-835 du 29 août 2023 relating to the uses and conditions for the reuse of rainwater and treated wastewater. This text, whihc replaces  the Décret n°. 2022-336 du 10 Mars, 2022, aims to simplify authorisation procedures for the reuse of treated wastewater.

Key measures of this new piece of legislation include:

  • An increase in the volumes of treated wastewater that can be reused;
  • The revocation of a five-year experimental period for reuse projects;
  • The abrogation of geographical constraints on the reuse of treated wastewater (e.g. recycled water produced in a department can be reused in neighbouring department);
  • A simplification of applications procedures;
  • A simplification of projects monitoring by authorities;
  • Reusing treated wastewater from a wastewater treatment plant is no longer limited by the quality of the sludge produced by that plant.

Available here (in French)

2022 – Décret n° 2022-336 du 10 mars 2022 relating to the uses and conditions for the reuse of treated wastewater.  No longer in force Superseded by Décret n° 2023-835 du 29 août 2023 

The decree defined the terms and conditions for regulating new uses of treated wastewater, other than those already regulated by dedicated regulations. It specified in particular the characteristics of the treated wastewater that could be used, the possible uses, the authorization procedure for reuse projects (content of the application file, maximum duration provided for the authorisation, content of the prefectural decree) and the monitoring and surveillance procedures to be put in place to ensure that the use of this water was compatible with the requirements for the protection of human health and the environment. Issued on the basis of Article L. 211-9 of the Environment Code, the decree set up an authorization procedure to allow new uses of treated wastewater. (According to the notice published with the decree).

Available here (in French)

2014 – Regulation for water reuse for agricultural and green areas irrigation. Official Journal of the French Republic.  Decree n0153 du 4 of July 2014 Page 11059 Text No. 29, by which the Previous Decree is Modified for the Use of Treated Effluents for Irrigating Crops or Green Areas. 

Issuing institutions: 

  • Ministry of Ecology, sustainable development and energy
  • Ministry for Social Affairs and Public Health
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Agri-Food and forests

Available here (in French)

2011 – Common Ministerial Decision No 145116 (354B)/08.03.11: Measures, Limits and Procedures for Reuse of Treated Wastewater. 

Issuing institution: 

  • Hellenic Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change.

Available here (in Greek)

2003 – Italian regulations for water reuse, MINISTERIAL DECREE of the 12 June 2003, no. 185 

Issuing institutions: 

  • Ministry of Environment
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Public Health

Available here (in Italian)and here (in Italian)

2006 – Regulations for water reuse for irrigation purposes. Portuguese Standard NP 4434.

Issuing institution: 

  • Portuguese Institute for Quality 

NP 4434:2005 – norma portuguesa para reutilização de águas residuais urbanas tratadas na rega

Available here (in English) and here (in English)

2007 – Regulations for Water Reuse – Royal Decree RD 1620/2007 of 7 December, State Official Journal, BOE no. 294, of 8 December 207, pages 50,639 to 50,661. 

The decree establishes a legal framework for the reuse of treated wastewater, ensuring wastewater recycling and reuse is performed under principles ensuring optimum health and environmental protection.

Issuing institutions: 

  • Ministry of Environment
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Ministry of Health

Available here (in Spanish) and here (in English)