Navigation path

High level navigation

Page navigation

Additional tools

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Print version
  • Decrease text
  • Increase text

Call for evidence: Water Scarcity & Droughts in the EU

The European Commission is asking interested stakeholders to submit evidence on water scarcity & droughts measures in the EU.

Call for evidence

The Commission is looking for information, studies and reports on:

  • the  magnitude of the water scarcity & droughts  problem in Europe until now and the medium term perspective, taking into account the effects of climate change
  • the driving forces, pressures and the impacts on ecosystems, societies and the economy associated with water scarcity & droughts throughout the EU or in other countries
  • the existing measures to prevent, manage or mitigate water scarcity & drought situations in Member States (national, regional or local level)
  • gaps and possible new measures to deal with water scarcity and droughts in the EU
  • the environmental, economic and social impacts and the feasibility of possible measures 

The results of the call for evidence will be included in a forthcoming GAP analysis on water scarcity & droughts in the EU carried out by DG Environment, the objective of which is to synthesise knowledge on water scarcity & droughts in the EU from existing and on-going studies and research activities, data collection by inter-alia EEA, Eurostat and JRC, experiences from implementing the 2007 Communication in Member States as well as Stakeholders ongoing activities. 

The GAP Analysis will feed into the Blue Print for safeguarding European Waters, being developed by 2012 and comprising a review of the Strategy on Water Scarcity and Droughts, a review of the implementation of the Water Framework Directive, and a review of the vulnerability of water and environmental resources to climate change and other man-made pressures.

How to contribute

Send your contribution in electronic format to the following e-mail address:

ENV-WATER-SCARCITY-DROUGHTS@ec.europa.eu

The contribution can be in any EU official language. Please add a short abstract in English.

Please indicate in your message your contact details. All submissions will be duly referenced and acknowledged. Please indicate any restriction to further diffusion of the information contained in the submissions.

Timeline

The call for evidence is open until 31/12/2010.

Background: Water scarcity & droughts policy

The balance between water demand and availability has reached a critical level in many areas of Europe (water scarcity). In addition, more and more areas are adversely affected by changes in the hydrological cycle and precipitation patterns (increasing aridity and frequency of droughts). Climate change will almost certainly exacerbate these adverse impacts in the future, with more frequent and severe droughts expected across Europe and the neighbouring countries.

Over the past thirty years, droughts have dramatically increased in number and intensity in the EU. It is estimated that the number of areas and people affected by droughts went up by almost 20% between 1976 and 2006 and that at least 11% of the European population and 17% of its territory have been affected by water scarcity to date.

The total monetary cost of droughts over the past thirty years has been estimated to € 100 billion. However, the cost estimates are based on self-reported damages and costs cover only direct costs, excluding ecological and social cost of droughts.

Reduced water availability has a direct negative impact on citizens and economic sectors such as agriculture, tourism, industry, energy and transport, and may affect competitiveness and the internal market. Water scarcity and droughts also have broader impacts on the environment at large through negative side-effects on biodiversity, water quality, increased risk of forest fires, and soil impoverishment.

In 2007 the European Commission addressed these challenges in a Communication on water scarcity and droughts in the European Union. The Communication identified 7 main policy options to address water scarcity and drought issues:

  1. Putting the right price tag on water
  2. Allocating water and water-related funding more efficiently
  3. Improving drought risk management
  4. Considering additional water supply infrastructures
  5. Fostering water efficient technologies and practices
  6. Fostering the emergence of a water-saving culture in Europe
  7. Improve knowledge and data collection

Given the huge potential for water savings in the EU, the Communication laid down a water hierarchy under which water demand management should come first, and alternative supply options should only be considered once the potential for water savings and efficiency has been exhausted.

At his hearing in the European Parliament in January 2010, Environment Commissioner Potočnik stated that a focus area for his mandate would be resource efficiency, including water efficiency. He furthermore announced a new Commission initiative, a "Blue Print for safeguarding European Waters", by 2012 comprising a review of the Strategy on Water Scarcity and Droughts, a review of the implementation of the Water Framework Directive, and a review of the vulnerability of water and environmental resources to climate change and other man-made pressures.

Since the adoption of the Strategy on water scarcity & droughts in 2007, a number of studies, research and other activities have been launched and the implementation of the above 7 policy options has been assessed on an annual basis. In view of the 2012 Blueprint, new studies and activities are being launched in areas where knowledge is still incomplete.

For further information see this page.