Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Europe threatened by greater water risks: OECD report

EurActiv: In Europe, the outlook for water-related disasters over the coming decades is bleak due to stress on water systems, increased demand and pollution, says a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The report coincides with World Water Week, a yearly event by the Stockholm International Water Institute to highlight the global challenges linked to water. The 167-page publication, Water Security for Better Lives, calls on governments to speed up their efforts to enhance the effectiveness of water management systems and curb the fallout from increased global demand, and shortages and floods caused by climate change.

The OECD said that by 2050 40% of the world's population will live in areas of severe water stress. The global population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, putting ever-greater pressure on supply chains that could lead to shortages. Nearly 20% of people could be exposed to floods, the influential Paris-based think tank added. Globally, the OECD puts the value of the property at risk from floods at some €35 trillion by 2050.

In Europe, water risks came to the fore in the summer of 2013 as much of the continent suffered severe flooding. The overflowing Elbe, Danube and Vltava rivers caused an estimated €3 billion of damage in Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria. Hungary, Poland and Slovakia were also affected.

Following the floods, the European Environmental Agency (EEA) predicted a rise in extreme weather events due to increased population, land-use change and climate change, among other factors. To the OECD, governments need to take action now....

High water in Dresden on June 5, 2013, shot by X-Weinzar, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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