The importance of water: Italy is making an effort

The importance of water: Italy is making an effort

Directive 2000/60/EC establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water has introduced an innovative approach to European legislation from the environmental, administrative and management point of view. The basic principles of the European Directive are essentially to prevent qualitative and quantitative deterioration, improve water status and ensure sustainable use.
Specifically, the objectives identified by the Directive are:

• to extend the protection of both surface and underground water

• to achieve the "good" status for all water by December 31st 2015

• to manage water resources based on river basins regardless of administrative structures

• to proceed with an action that combines emission limits and quality standards

• to identify the right price for all water services that takes into account their real economic cost and makes them part of the choices made in the matter

However, one wonders how did Italy tackle and face that challenge launched by the EU?

In this regard, it is correct to point out that Italy has, first of all, transposed the Directive through Legislative Decree no. No 152/2006, which had already incorporated into its legal system a provision concerning the concept of basin-scale planning by Law 183/89, to be implemented in the present case through the implementation of the Basin Plans, as well as anticipating an integrated approach to the protection of water through the Legislative Decree no. No 152/1999, which foresees the elaboration by the regions, the protection plans and part of the basin plans.

Today, although it seems that the Italian bureaucracy has started harmonizing Italian legislation with the European Directives, it is not enough to be in line with national and international goals, rather, what is needed are concrete actions, public investment and not simply ad hoc controls to evaluate the progress of the work.

After comprehensive and careful examination of Italy’s case, it is evident that despite the already great news and changing attitudes, what has been done up until now is far from achieving the intended goals. In fact, it is obvious to the eye of the media and to the more cautious citizens, that Italy continues to receive sanctions from the European Commission as it is not yet able to meet the standards required.

Recent news that came up a few weeks ago show that the European Parliament has asked the European Commission for a new sanction for Italy of approximately 62 million euros, and that discovery does not hurt the minds of the Italians who would like to see their tax money used to create and reset everything that is missing, such as the creation of new basins, new purification sites and the restructuring of existing ones, rather than continuing to witness the rise of public debt without any improvements and not enough efficient and sustainable solutions.

Pending the judgment of the European Commission on new penalties to be imposed on our country, we hope that the entire legislative system and the operational structure of the Italian public administration will be more effective, together with the European Union, in the implementation of water protection and the realization of a sustainable future.


Author: Giulia Netti / LUM University