Wastewater Management

The Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (UWWTD) is a key driver of urban wastewater sector transformation in the Danube region, with large amounts of funds being committed in an unprecedented wastewater infrastructure investment cycle. This has prompted the preparation of the study “Wastewater Management in the Danube Region: Opportunities and Challenges of EU Accession” with the following objectives: (i) assess the results of the UWWTD implementation in the Danube region, considering environmental, economic, sustainability and affordability aspects, and (ii) contribute to the ongoing discussion initiated as part of the European Commission’s review of the UWWTD, by identifying challenges and actions that countries can take to improve wastewater management.

The study focuses geographically in the Danube region on countries that joined the European Union between 2004 and 2013, namely Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia as well as Austria.

Around EUR 60 billion need to be invested to achieve full compliance with the UWWTD, of which EUR 44 billion have already been invested, but significant additional resources including reinvestment for older infrastructure needing renewal, estimated at EUR 56 billion, will still be needed for continued compliance until 2040.

The review shows that although all countries have managed to decrease load emissions (mostly for BOD/COD rather than for Nitrogen and Phosphorus), most of them are experiencing delays towards full UWWTD implementation, given ambitious implementation planning targets, which most countries have found challenging to achieve. The report raises the issue that operation and maintenance costs for the sustainability of these investments will be a challenge in the future, as wastewater treatment pricing policies currently only partially support full cost recovery of water services in the eight countries, with depreciation usually only partially included in the current tariffs. This means that robust annual tariff increases will be required to achieve total cost recovery.

The study was informed by the discussion undertaken under the International Workshop on Wastewater Management in the Danube river basin that took place in Bucharest on 28-29 November (Co-organized by the ICPDR, IAWD, WB and the Joint Research Center of the European Commission.

Finally, the report’s results and recommendations were presented to the European Commission during the World Bank – European Commission Water Day in Brussels on January 23, 2018.

VoD - First International Workshop on Wastewater Management in the Danube River Basin

The first “International Workshop on Wastewater Management in the Danube river Basin“ will take place from 28 to 29 November 2017 in Bucharest, Romania....