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Water Management European Water Management Challenged by Climate Change

| Editor: Dominik Stephan

Water pollution and excessive water use are still harming ecosystems, which are indispensable to Europe’s food, energy, and water supplies. To maintain water ecosystems, farming, planning, energy and transport sectors need to actively engage in managing water within sustainable limits, a new report by the European Environment Agency states...

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“Water is finite, and cannot continue to absorb limitless amounts of pollution without damaging the resources and ecosystems we rely on,” Jacqueline McGlade, EEA Executive Director, said.
“Water is finite, and cannot continue to absorb limitless amounts of pollution without damaging the resources and ecosystems we rely on,” Jacqueline McGlade, EEA Executive Director, said.
(Picture: Wikimedia Commons)

‘European waters – current status and future challenges’ brings together findings from nine other European Environment Agency (EEA) reports published during the course of 2012 and early 2013. The report shows a mixed picture for the status of Europe’s water bodies, while the findings are worrying when it comes to ecosystems’ ability to deliver essential services.

Strong ecosystems should be maintained, partly because they provide vital services which are often overlooked, the report says. For example, restoring a wetland is not only good for biodiversity but also water filtration, water retention and flood prevention. Although essential, these services are not accounted for in current financial and economic systems.

Cooperation for Water Treatment and Management Needed

“Water is finite, and cannot continue to absorb limitless amounts of pollution without damaging the resources and ecosystems we rely on,” Jacqueline McGlade, EEA Executive Director, said. “Farmers, planners and companies need to cooperate more, to make sure that the combined pressures on ecosystems do not pass harmful limits.”

Challenges for Europe's Water Management

  • Ecosystems are under pressure. Less than half (48 %) of Europe's surface water bodies are likely to be in good ecological status by 2015, as specified by the Water Framework Directive (WFD). To meet this target, water bodies must further reduce nutrient pollution and restore more natural features. The effects of these problems are clear – 63 % of lakes and river habitats in the EU are reported to have an ‘unfavourable’ conservation status.

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