In 2008, “The EIB’s Water Sector Lending Policy” set out how the Bank supports EU policy objectives in the water sector. This lending guidance revisits the investment priorities identified in that document in light of developments since its publication.
In the EU, new infrastructure requirements to achieve compliance with the requirements stipulated in the Urban Waste Water Treatment and the Drinking Water Directives is nearing completion, albeit some additional investment is still needed to attain 100% compliance. The water management challenges in the EU are now increasingly shifting to mainly operating, maintaining, upgrading and renovating water infrastructure systems, tackling emerging pollutants and implementing the requirements under the Water Framework and the Floods Directives.
Internationally, the UN’s Millennium Development Goals have been superseded by 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 integrated and indivisible targets for attaining sustainable development by 2030. These include a series of targets designed to focus on all aspects of the water cycle and designed to provide water security which is a precondition for attaining sustainable development. They include, inter alia, targets for adequate sanitation and access to safe drinking water for all by 2030.
While EIB investment has so far primarily contributed to drinking water and sanitation infrastructure, sustained investment is needed to avert risks to water security. The quantity of good quality water available to mankind is threatened due to pressures from changes in demography, climate, and land use, as well as from increasing demand for food and energy. These pressures are expected to persist well into the 21st century. Lack of water security, and more generally sustainability, could translate into loss of growth and jobs and lead to social and political tensions, and possibly national or international conflict, having an impact on the global value chains of businesses and increasing migration pressures.
This document explains the Bank’s investments orientation in the sector. It provides stakeholders with general information regarding the Bank’s approach when assessing the acceptability of projects. This document exclusively considers water sector specific topics and focuses in particular on the issue of water security.