Water management is to a high degree regulated by policy and legislation, defining water quality requirements for particular uses or environmental compartments. The adoption of the Water Framework Directive marks an orientation towards a more complex and integrated management of the whole water cycle in a river basin. This approach opens promising perspectives for water reuse. The paper shows where in existing European legislative structures water reuse aspects can be accounted for and how ongoing processes could be adjusted to advance water reuse development. Follow-up activities to support implementation of legislation are partly in favour of water reuse. But specific instruments such as qualified funding can only make an impact when backed by a well defined framework for water reuse which is still missing on European level. Particularly guidelines addressing risk management together with guidance on best management practice should be drawn up in a bottom-up approach.

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