Friday, April 1, 2011

Water scarcity and droughts a growing challenge in the EU

Portugal News: The European Commission has published a report on Member States’ progress in addressing water scarcity and droughts. The balance between water demand and availability has reached a critical level in many areas of Europe, a trend that is expected to become more marked as climate change progresses.

In the run up to a major water policy review in 2012, the report presents the water management measures introduced by Member States to tackle water scarcity and droughts, and highlights the areas for further action.

In 2009-10 water scarcity occurred in much of Southern Europe – due to limited water resources, high demand for water and less rain. The Czech Republic, Cyprus and Malta reported that they faced continuous water scarcity. Five Member States reported droughts or rainfall levels lower than the long term average (France, Hungary, the UK, Portugal and Spain), and four experienced local limited water scarcity occurrences (the Netherlands, Sweden, France and Romania).

The report confirms that water scarcity and drought is not limited to Mediterranean countries. Apart from some sparsely-populated northern regions with abundant water resources, this is a growing issue across the EU. Recent studies show that by 2050 most European regions are expected to be under medium or severe water stress – mainly due to unsustainable water use, exacerbated by the effects of climate change. Affected Member States have developed actions to reduce pressure on water resources and restrict water use.

In June 2010, the Council of Ministers concluded that water scarcity and drought are a serious problem in many European regions and invited Member States to step up action to promote more efficient and sustainable water use. This report shows that many Member States have already adopted policy options such as water pricing, improved water management tools, and water efficiency and saving measures…

Dam of Campilhas (37º 50'N, 8º 37' W), Alentejo, SW Portugal. The scale measures the elevation, in meters, above Mean Sea Level. It's looking rather dry. Shot by Joaquim Alves Gaspar, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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