Understanding the Drinking Water Directive

Understanding the Drinking Water Directive

Nested Applications

The Drinking Water Directive (DWD) aims to protect people and the environment from the harmful effects of contaminated drinking water and to improve access to drinking water. It came into force on 12 January 2021 following a review of the original Drinking Water Directive of 1998.

The directive introduces minimum requirements for materials that are in contact with water meant for human consumption throughout the EU. Harmonising these requirements ensures protection of people in the EU and improves the functioning of the internal market.  

Article 11 of the revised directive sets out the framework for minimum hygiene requirements for materials in contact with drinking water. This framework was legally adopted by the European Commission as six legal acts, which were published on 23 April 2024. 

This new regulatory framework includes:

  • European positive lists of starting substances, compositions and constituents that are authorised for use in the manufacturing materials in contact with drinking water.
  • Risk assessment methodologies and information requirements for reviewing starting substances, compositions and constituents that could be added to the positive lists.
  • Administrative procedures for updating the positive lists.

At the end of 2025, economic operators and national authorities can start notifying ECHA of their intentions to propose modifications to the European positive lists. From the end of 2026, they can start submitting to ECHA their applications to add new entries and to amend or remove existing entries from the European positive lists. 


Revised Drinking Water Directive entered into force. 12.01.2021 Legal acts setting out the positive lists, information requirements and the administrative procedure to update the European positive list published. 23.04.2024 Provisions of first European positive lists start to apply. 31.12.2026 Submission of applications to modify the European positive lists to ECHA starts. Submission of notifications of intention to ECHA starts. 31.12.2025 Commission to review the implementation of the revised Drinking Water Directive. 31.01.2032 End of transitional provisions for substances which have been approved by Member States in the period 13.07.2021-31.12.2026. 31.12.2032