Drinking water

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What is the "drinking water ERP"?

The "drinking water emergency response plan" defines the action the Government should take in the event of a significant disruption in the drinking water supply in the Grand Duchy.

What are the aims of the "drinking water ERP"?

The aims of the "drinking water ERP" are:

  • to define the bodies that will manage the crisis;
  • to lay down the process for alerting the authorities and providing information to the public;
  • to define the emergency measures, associated actions and the respective stakeholders and figures in charge.

What constitutes an emergency situation?

An emergency is deemed to be a serious disruption to supplies of drinking water resulting from either a technical or weather-related incident (quantitative problem) or accidental or malicious pollution (qualitative problem) which could cause the systems to malfunction significantly or entail serious disruption to supplies of drinking water affecting the vital interests or essential needs of all or part of the country or population of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

What about routine incidents?

Routine incidents are managed by the operators/owners of water treatment and distribution infrastructures and the various agencies according to their respective missions and following their own specific procedures.

Which stakeholders are involved in the "drinking water ERP"?

The execution of the plan developed under the leadership of the High Commission for National Protection (Haut-Commissariat à la Protection nationale - HCPN) falls under the remit of the Prime Minister and Minister of State, and the Minister with responsibility for water.

All the ministries, agencies and departments of the State, as well as the operators/owners of water treatment infrastructures, are required to cooperate in the implementation of the plan using all the means available to them.

Which bodies assume the management in an emergency situation?

The "drinking water Emergency Response Plan" determines the following management bodies to deal with an emergency situation:

  • the Crisis Cell (CC);
  • the Operational Cell (CO);
  • the Cell for assessing the risk of a disruption in the drinking water supply (CERREP);
  • the Communication/Information Cell (CCI).


What is the Crisis Cell?

The Crisis Cell (Cellule de Crise - CC) is activated by the Prime Minister and Minister of State in the event that a crisis is imminent or has occurred. It initiates, coordinates and monitors the execution of all the measures intended to deal with the crisis and its effects and return the situation to normal. It prepares the necessary decisions and submits them to the Government for approval.

Who participates in the Crisis Cell?

In an emergency situation, the Crisis Cell is composed of the following people at the least:

  • the High Commissioner for National Protection;
  • the Director of the Rescue Services Agency;
  • the Director of the Water Management Authority;
  • the Director of the Administration for Roads and Bridges;
  • the Director of Health;
  • the Director of the Crisis Communication Service;
  • a representative of the ministerial department with responsibility for water;
  • a representative of the Ministry of Home Affairs;
  • a representative of the SEBES.


For how long does the Crisis Cell (CC) operate?

The CC operates throughout the duration of the crisis until the situation returns to normal.


What is the Operational Cell?

The Crisis Cell can appoint an Operational Cell (CO) to execute, implement and monitor the ordered measures and activities.

What is the Cell for assessing the risk of a disruption in the drinking water supply (CERREP)?

The CERREP's role in managing the crisis is to monitor the emergency situation as it evolves, and to keep the Crisis Cell informed. Made up of experts, the CERREP assesses the situation and increases surveillance before the Crisis Cell is activated.

What is the Communication/Information Cell (CCI)?

The CCI is responsible for communication and information for the benefit of the media and the public. The horizontal coordination of organising external communication falls to the Crisis Communication Service.

When does the "drinking water ERP" apply?

The plan is applied in an emergency; it distinguishes between problems of a quantitative and qualitative nature in the drinking water supply.

  • Technical problem
  • Weather-related problem
  • Microbiological problem
  • Chemical problem
  • Radioactive problem
  • Cyber-attack
  • Terrorist attack
  • Power cut

What constitutes a "technical problem"?

Technical problems involve failures in major technical installations such as treatment stations and supply and distribution infrastructures.

What constitutes a "weather-related problem"?

Increased precipitation during the winter, reduced precipitation and higher temperatures during the summer, and an increase in the frequency of exceptional weather conditions can cause quantity- and even quality-related problems for the drinking water supply.

Two scenarios have been considered in the emergency response plan:

  • periods of prolonged drought accompanied by high temperatures, causing a significant reduction in available resources and a significant increase in consumption needs;
  • other extreme weather conditions (storms, thunderstorms, heavy rain) or prolonged periods of freezing temperatures.

What constitutes a "microbiological problem"?

Microbiological pollution of drinking water may be caused either by the resources used as drinking water, by defective infrastructures or piping and networks for supply and distribution.


What constitutes a "chemical problem"?

Chemical pollution may be of accidental or criminal origin. It may occur in various places, including the areas where drinking water is sourced (on the surface or underground), in defective infrastructures, or inside pipes and networks for supply and distribution. The difference between soluble and non-soluble chemicals lies in the water treatment methods.

Pollution caused by a non-soluble product can, in certain cases, be treated more easily upstream of the supply source. It is also easier to notice pollution caused by a non-soluble chemical than by a soluble chemical.

What constitutes a "radioactive problem"?

There is very little risk of pollution caused by a radioactive product, whether of accidental or criminal origin.

In the event of an accident at a nuclear power station in a neighbouring country, the emergency response plan in the event of a nuclear accident is set in motion.

What about information for the public?

The general public will be kept informed of the situation as it develops by the Government and via the website www.infocrise.lu.

What responsibilities do the municipal authorities have regarding drinking water?

The regulation on drinking water (Grand-Ducal Regulation of 7 October 2002 on the quality of water intended for human consumption) makes the municipal authorities largely responsible with regard to their inhabitants. Municipal authorities monitor the quality of the water supplied, paying particular attention to supply infrastructures. Municipal authorities must inform consumers at least once a year about the quality of the water supplied. They also provide consumers with advice.

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