NextGen position regarding two European Directives on the topic of water

A new Policy Brief addressing governance challenges was released

It’s believed that by the end of this decade 30% of the European territory will suffer from water scarcity. Global change will further complicate the situation causing unpredictable draughts and floods. In this scenario, Europe has to prepare itself especially regarding social and governance challenges. 

The goals of the NextGen project are closely connected with two European Directives that are currently up for revision:

  • The Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (UWWTD) has set an international reference case in the global effort in wastewater management, exemplified in the UN Sustainable Development Goal indicator 6.3.1. Today, 95% of the EU’s urban wastewater is collected and over 85% is treated according to the Directive’ requirements.
  • The Sewage Sludge Directive (SSD) has performed well in its objective to encourage the safe use of sludge while complying with high environmental standards, and providing beneficial side effects such as improving effluent and water quality, soil organic matter and water retention.

However, both directives are facing new challenges and concerns that they are no longer fit for purpose, particularly in regards to the circular economy and the exploitation of the Value in Water.


The results of the NextGen project demonstrate that the European citizens are ready for “circular solutions utilised in the water and wastewater sector – the use of recycled water for drinking purposes, and the use of recovered nutrients to grow food”.

NextGen circular water solutions to maximise impact

The Horizon 2020 project NextGen aims to boost sustainability and bring new market dynamics throughout the water cycle in its 10 demo cases and beyond. The project assesses, design and demonstrate a wide range of water- embedded resources, including energy, raw material and reuse water. The NextGen deployment is paired with the definition and cultivation of a successful framework for involving and engaging citizens or other stakeholders, and also addressing social and governance challenges.


The project NextGen wants to in this sense:

  • Contribute to a future European Roadmap for Water in Circular Economy.

  • Offer innovative solutions in line with the new EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change.