Eurachem Blog

Celebrating World Water Day 2021

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22 March was designated World Water Day by the United Nations in 1993 with the aim of focusing attention on the sustainable management of freshwater resources. A key focus of the day is to support the achievement of the important United Nations Sustainable Development Goal no. 6: “Water and sanitation for all by 2030”. A particular theme is chosen for World Water Day every year. The 2021 theme is “Valuing Water”.

At the legislative level, the quality of water for human consumption in the EU is dealt with by Directives. This year's Water Day follows the recent revision on 16 Dec 2020 of the Directive (EU) 2020/2184 on the quality of water intended for human consumption. It was considered necessary to recast the Directive 98/83/EC4 which had been substantially amended since 1998. The legal framework provides detailed tools to ensure water quality. Reference is made to the risk-based approach, sampling, and uncertainty of measurement. Additionally, it is also specified that the Member States shall ensure that the methods of analysis are validated and documented in accordance with EN ISO/IEC 17025 and that laboratories apply quality management system practices in accordance with the said standard (Note that the terms used here are as they appear in the Directive). This means that although no reference is made to accreditation, laboratories need to comply with the competence requirements specified in EN ISO/IEC 17025. However, note that in some countries, national legislation requires that laboratories are accredited. How can these requirements be addressed?

A number of Working Groups of Eurachem have been working for many years on these quality issues. The outcome of their work appears in a series of publications, guides and leaflets (some of them translated into other languages) as well as in a series of training events. All this material is freely accessible to those interested via the Eurachem website. Many of these Eurachem publications can provide substantial support to efforts that are needed across the EU, to fulfill the requirements of the Directive. Special reference is made to guides and leaflets on measurement uncertainty, method validation and uncertainty arising from sampling. The latter has recently been given additional emphasis after the publication of the new ISO/IEC 17025:2017 requiring the inclusion of contributions arising from sampling in the evaluation of measurement uncertainty.

Kyriacos C.Tsimillis