European Drinking Water Directive (DWD) and Harmonised Standards

Understand the current and future state of the drinking water product and material compliance requirements for European Union Member States.

Origins and development

The original DWD was first adopted in 1980, and over the years it has undergone several revisions to incorporate technological advancements and evolving concerns related to public health.

The most recent DWD sets specific requirements for how all Member States manage their water supplies, requiring a documented risk-based approach, including specific requirements for products (Article 11) and chemicals (Article 12) in contact with drinking water.

This overall effort is commonly referred to as the “European (EU) harmonisation of water regulations.”

Current and future state: water product and material requirements in Europe

One specific issue that is currently affecting water product and material manufacturers is the multiple sets of testing required for national approval in different EU Member States.

The recast DWD (2020/2184) addresses this issue and in the coming years will apply and enforce a harmonzied set of requirements for all water products and materials being used in any of the Member States.

Current state

Before - European Drinking Water Directive (DWD) and Harmonised Standards | NSF

Future state

After - European Drinking Water Directive (DWD) and Harmonised Standards | NSF

Key milestones*

The Drinking Water Directive has gone through many phases to get to where it is today.

  • 1998: Update DWD (98/83/EC)
  • 1999: Start EAS Mandate CPD
  • 2007: Stop EAS; Start 4MS
  • 2011: 4MS declaration of intent
  • 2014: EU consultation Right2Water
  • 2018: Proposal for revision to DWD
  • 2021: New DWD adopted (EU 2020/2184)
  • 2023:
    • January: Implementation of DWD in all member states
    • October: Public consultation on Article 11 acts
    • November: Founding of group of EU Conformity Assessment Bodies for products and materials in contact with drinking water
  • 2024: Adoption and entry into force
  • 2027: All Acts – date of application (new products must comply) Dec 31st 2026
  • 2033: All Acts - end of transition (all products must comply) Dec 31st 2032

*Timing after 2023 is subject to change.

Planning your certification strategy for the EU water market: 2027 and beyond

Since the EU regulatory landscape is changing for water contact products and materials through 2027, developing your certification strategy can be a difficult thing to get right.

Let us help you navigate this complicated topic. Register for this on-demand webinar, where NSF experts cover the history of the harmonisation of these regulations/requirements, upcoming deadlines, and pathways to compliance.

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Interested in keeping up on this topic?

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More resources

  • View the Drinking Water Directive in all Member State languages on the EUR-Lex website
  • View more information on this topic on the European Drinking Water (EDW) website. EDW is a European Industry initiative to promote a harmonised standard for products and materials in contact with drinking water.

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