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Does Europe have good quality water?

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The European Environment Agency makes the link between healthy environment and healthy life. The key message: improving the quality of the environment improves the health and well-being of individuals.

Quality water, a vector of good health

Water pollution poses a threat to health. The exposure can be direct: drinking water, bathing water. Or indirect: consumption of contaminated fish. 

In Europe, the quality of these waters is generally satisfactory.

Good points

  • Drinking water

Europe has high rates of regulatory compliance. The good news is that poor drinking water can lead to bowel disease. 

  • Bathing waters

96% of the sites analyzed on the continent meet the minimum standards. 85% of them are of excellent quality. Contamination of these waters can affect human health by causing intestinal and even respiratory pathologies. Another possible effect: the proliferation of toxic cyanobacteria (blue algae).

  • Groundwater

The state of groundwater bodies is generally good: 74% of them have a good chemical state. 

The bad points

Despite everything, the Agency highlights certain elements for improvement:

  • Drinking water monitoring

We must look for more polluting substances: pharmaceuticals, chemicals from sunscreens, etc. A revision of the European directive on drinking water should come into force before the end of 2020. Its objective: to strengthen quality standards.

  • Surface water bodies. 

Their quality is not satisfactory: 40% are in good ecological condition and 38% in good chemical condition.

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