Article 7 of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD) promotes a prevention-led approach to European Drinking Water Directive (DWD) compliance for those parameters that derive from anthropogenic influences on raw water quality. However, the efficacy of pollution prevention interventions is currently uncertain and likely to be variable, which makes absolute compliance with the drinking water standard a significant challenge. Member State governments, the WFD competent authority, the DWD competent authority, water suppliers and agriculture are all affected by and have a different perspective on the nature of this challenge. This paper presents a discussion of these perspectives applicable to stakeholders in all European Member States; the analysis is supported with examples from England and Wales. Improved understanding of the challenges faced by each group is needed if these groups are to achieve the shared goals of WFD Article 7 compliance and DWD compliance without a disproportionately negative impact on agricultural productivity. In addition, the European Commission needs to be aware of and address a potential incompatibility between WFD Article 7 and the DWD. With this in mind, targeted recommendations for action are presented for each stakeholder group.

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