Europe must double efforts to protect water supply
Europe needs to intensify efforts to keep sufficient quantity and quality of fresh water to maintain the regions ecosystems, according to a series of reports published by the European Environment Agency (EEA).
Assessing the state of European waters last year, the reports evaluated critical aspects of water to support policymaking, focusing on resource efficiency and water economics, ecological and chemical status, hydro-morphology, vulnerability and biodiversity.
Studies found that almost half of Europe's water bodies will miss the target set by the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and still be in poor ecological status in 2015.
'Hydromorphological' changes, such as dams, straightening and dredging can also damage ecosystems, preventing migration and spawning. This affects around 40% of rivers and transitional water bodies and 30% of the lakes.
One of the reports also highlighted that water use often exceeds water availability, resulting in water stress across much of Europe, which consequently has knock-on effects for the economy and the natural world.
Another concern brought to light by the EEA is that drought is increasing across Europe. The number of countries affected by drought per decade increased from 15 in the period 1971-1980, to 28 in the period 2001-2011, while climate change is expected to exacerbate this problem.
The EEA also reported that the quality of bathing water across Europe declined slightly between 2009 and 2010, but the overall quality was still high. More than nine out of 10 bathing water sites met the minimum requirements in 2011.
Solutions to many of Europe's water problems have been analysed in the European Commission's Water Blueprint, published last year, which was supported by the EEA's water reports in 2012.
- New head of programme controls at MWH UK MWH, now part of Stantec, has appointed Tom Elvin as head of programme controls in the UK. Read More >
- United Utilities announces green fleet plan United Utilities is working on plans to switch its entire fleet of vehicles from diesel to home-produced energy within the... Read More >
- Water industry 'Oscars' open for entries It's September which can only mean one thing ─ it's time to get those entries rolling in for the Water Industry... Read More >
- Comment: Capital Maintenance comes to the fore The tight cost of capital set by Ofwat for PR19 will mean water companies will need to place the emphasis on maintenance... Read More >
- Interview: Yorkshire Water procurement head Andy Clark Yorkshire Water's Andy Clark tells Robin Hackett why the company is making major changes to its procurement strategy Read More >
- Interview: Stantec UK MD Cath Schefer After MWH merged into Stantec, the combined business is putting the focus squarely on collaboration and innovation to find... Read More >
- Top Tips for... System Totex With Ofwat's AMP6 reforms putting Totex at the centre of the investment planning process, applying this approach at inlet... Read More >
- Interview: Lawrence Gosden, MD, Wastewater, Thames Water This month we talk to Lawrence Gosden, MD for wastewater at Thames Water, about building flood resilience in London and... Read More >