Understanding the Drinking Water Directive

The revised Drinking Water Directive (DWD) aims to protect citizens 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 intended for human consumption throughout the EU. This harmonisation contributes to reaching a uniform level of protection of health for all EU citizens 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. ECHA has been supporting the European Commission in this work by preparing:

  • European positive lists of starting substances, compositions and constituents that are authorised for use in the manufacture of 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.

After the positive lists are published, ECHA will continue keeping the lists up to date, by adding new entries and amending or removing existing entries.


Revised Drinking Water Directive entered into force. 12.01.2021 Deadline for Member States to notify/inform ECHA about national positive lists, other provisions and available assessment documents. 12.07.2021 The first European positive lists adopted (expected sooner than deadline of 12.01.2025).15-year review programme for first European positive lists starts. 12.01.2024 Information requirements, risk assessment methods and the administrative procedure to update the European positive list adopted. Regular maintenance of the European positive lists starts. Estimated 2026 Commission to review the implementation of the revised Drinking Water Directive 12.01.2032