Water’s value comes without questioning, since life itself is connected with it and life is not possible without water. This viewing though, however self-explanatory, cannot be limited in this basic assumption. Because water’s value is multidimensional and has an environmental, economical, social and cultural dimension. And while it is timeless throughout history, it evolves in accordance with the developments of the environmental, economical, social and cultural conditions. For example, even though a few years ago, the value of water dominated as a notion that is connected with its correct pricing, nowadays what has been emphatically placed in the center of the public interest is its value as public good. Without it, of course meaning that the correct pricing does not contribute to its efficient management and the protection of the water sources. Defining water as public good has been connected with its public and municipal management and this has proved internationally through the years as a condition for ensuring clean and healthy water for everyone and does not leave anyone “behind” according to the Goal number 6 of the Goals for Sustainable Development by the United Nations.
Water’s value is of course connected with is adequacy and its quality. And while its adequacy is connected to the programming and projects’ materialization on water sources utilization, the quality is connected directly with the public health. “Water is life, but quality of water is health”, in the words of Professor Of Microbiology in the Michigan University and a distinguished member of the International Water Association, Joan Rose.
The new European Directory for the drinking water is an important institutional development in the field of the water management. Outlined by a holistic approach that adopts a frame, not only contemporary, but also anthropocentric. It is not merely limited in the update of the quality parameters of the drinking water. It also embeds the changes that come not only from science, but also from the society. Society of the European citizens has been the main motivational axis for mobilization and activation of the European institutions so that the new Directory for the drinking water will be ruled by transparency, emphasise on the value of water as this has evolved until today, connecting it at the same time with the public health and its protection.
* Olga Kotselidou, Legal counselor, General Manager of the Union of Municipal Companies of Water Supply and Sewerage of Greece (ΕDEYA)