Regulatory framework for drinking water, wastewater discharge and reuse
The following figure depicts the main government bodies responsible for drinking water, wastewater and water reuse regulation in Italy.
Drinking water quality regulations
Italy, as a Member State of the European Union, agrees to conform to the standards set at the European level. The standard D.lgs 31/2001, in force since 2003, implements the EU Drinking Water Directive 98/83/EC (DWD) on the quality of water intended for human consumption. Annex I of D.lgs 31/2001 sets the maximum allowed values of substances in drinking water requirements, which are almost identical to the requirements in the DWD (see section 13.2.1 of the Overview of EU regulation chapter). The differences between the Italian and EU regulations are summarised in the following figure. Sampling methods are laid out in Annexes II and III.
Municipal and industrial wastewater quality regulations
Section II Part III of the Environmental Code, D.lgs 152/2006 sets pollutant levels for wastewater discharges for both industrial and municipal wastewater. It implements the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive 91/271/EEC (UWWTD) (see section 13.3 in the Overview of EU regulation chapter).
Water reuse regulations
Water reuse in Italy is not as developed as in other countries in the EU, but a positive trend in the number of projects implementing this practice has been recorded.
Water in industry: Paper production, chemicals, & production & processing of minerals & metals
The manufacturing industry is one of the most important economic sectors in Italy, contributing over 20% of GDP. With respect to water use and wastewater treatment, the most significant sectors are paper production, chemicals, and production and processing of minerals and metals. These are all water intensive sectors and, consequently, investment in water efficiency and treatment are high. Wastewater generated by these industries contains high levels of various pollutants; they are therefore subject to specific standards and discharge permissions.
Future regulatory scenario and conclusions
Increasing water scarcity and the need to meet European quality standards are the main drivers for enacting legislation and for investing in water efficiency measures in Italy.
List of laws, standards and policies