AquaConnect workshop at Stibbe: Understanding the legal landscape of wastewater reuse law in Europe



On the 11th of April, 2024 an event, titled “Waterhergebruik in de praktijk: juridische en bestuurlijke vraagstukken belicht” (“Wastewater reuse in practice: Legal and governance issues”) took place at the Stibbe office in Amsterdam. The event was organised by our consortium partner Stibbe and Utrecht University under the AquaConnect project, chaired by Dr. Annalies Outhuijse, and with speakers including PhD candidate Sophie Melchers (UU) and Professor Herman Kasper Gilissen (UU). The event was attended by around 50 people from 30 organisations dealing with wastewater reuse in the Netherlands.

During this seminar, PhD candidate Sophie Melchers shared her preliminary research insights on the legal systems of circular water supply in Spain, Malta, and the Netherlands. This research has shown that the legal frameworks on wastewater reuse differ greatly within the European Union on elements such as the purposes for which reclaimed wastewater can be used and the simplicity of the permit application. Her findings can also be found in Review of European Comparative, International and European Law (RECIEL) (in press).

The presentation was followed by a reflection from Professor Gilissen. Participants were then split into smaller ‘breakout groups’ moderated by Liesbeth Berkouwer, Aster Veldkamp, Kirsty Holstead, Noelle Lasseur, and Bente de Leeuw. In these breakout sessions, the discussion revolved around ensuring sufficient funding, responsibility allocation between actors in the wastewater reuse cycle, permitting, and water quality standards. The day ended with a plenary discussion and drinks at the Stibbe office.  

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