Joint Research Centre - European Commission

JOINT RESEARCH CENTRE
The European Commission's in-house science service
European Commission

Photo of a map of Europe showing the Average annual freshwater availability

Average annual freshwater availability (1990-2010), determined with the hydrological simulation model LISFLOOD© EU, 2012

JRC maps help match water supply and demand

 

A new assessment of available water resources reveals that large areas in Spain and Eastern Europe have on average less than 200 mm freshwater available every year while the demand for water is three to ten times higher. The findings are part of the JRC report 'Current Water Resources in Europe and Africa', published in the occasion of the 6th World Water Forum held in Marseille, from 12 to 17 March 2012.

The maps show variations in yearly freshwater generation from 10 mm to over 500 mm for Europe and from less than 0.1 mm to over 500 mm for Africa. The report outlines existing uncertainties and points to further research efforts needed for improved water management.

The JRC research to assess water availability versus water demands from different economic sectors aims to support major policy challenges of ensuring legitimate access to water. It analyses available water resources, floods, droughts and water scarcity using hydrological simulation modelling.

In Europe, most data needed for water resources assessment are already available but access to them still needs to be improved to achieve a pan-European overview. In particular the public availability of river flow observations needs to be addressed.

For the African continent the latest assessment of water resources reveals large areas with less than 200 mm freshwater generation per year. Higher values are measured only in parts of Equatorial Africa, Southwest Ethiopia, Eastern South-Africa and Madagascar. Water scarcity is particularly difficult to estimate since the most recent pan-African data on water use date back to the year 2000. In addition, and just as for Europe, information on inter river basin water transfers is often unavailable.

Pictures

Europe: Annual freshwater availability (mm/year) (average 1990-2010)

Europe: Annual freshwater availability (mm/year) (average 1990-2010)
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Europe: Water demand for all sectors (irrigation, livestock, industry & energy, housholds) (mm/year) (year 2005)

Europe: Water demand for all sectors (irrigation, livestock, industry & energy, housholds) (mm/year) (year 2005)
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Europe: Number of days per year that there is not sufficient water for vegetation growth (~ soil moisture stress)(average 1990-2010)

Europe: Number of days per year that there is not sufficient water for vegetation growth (~ soil moisture stress)(average 1990-2010)
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Europe: Areas where - parts of the year - water supply is not sufficient to meet irrigation needs (mm/year)(average 1990-2010)

Europe: Areas where - parts of the year - water supply is not sufficient to meet irrigation needs (mm/year)(average 1990-2010)
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Africa: Annual freshwater availability (mm/year)(average 1989-2010)

Africa: Annual freshwater availability (mm/year)(average 1989-2010)
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Africa: Water demand for all sectors (irrigation, livestock, industry & energy, housholds) (mm/year) (year 2000)

Africa: Water demand for all sectors (irrigation, livestock, industry & energy, housholds) (mm/year) (year 2000)
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Africa: Number of days per year that there is not sufficient water for vegetation growth (~ soil moisture stress)(average 1989-2010)

Africa: Number of days per year that there is not sufficient water for vegetation growth (~ soil moisture stress)(average 1989-2010)
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Africa: Average water scarcity in Africa (1989-2010): Areas where - at least parts of the year - water supply is not sufficient to meet water requirements from all sectors (irrigation, livestock, industry & energy, households)

Africa: Average water scarcity in Africa (1989-2010): Areas where - at least parts of the year - water supply is not sufficient to meet water requirements from all sectors (irrigation, livestock, industry & energy, households)
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14/03/12